In the name of their freedoms, their children or religious convictions, thousands of Americans demonstrated this Sunday in Washington to protest against the obligatory nature of vaccinations against Covid-19.
“The obligation (of vaccines) and freedoms are not compatible. Like oil and water,” proclaimed a speaker on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, amid Americans of all ages, without a mask and some accompanied by children.
“I’m not anti-vaccine, but I am against this vaccine,” Michelle, a 61-year-old physical therapist from Virginia, told AFP, calling messenger RNA doses “too experimental” and “rushed.”
Michelle explains that she refused the vaccine and benefited from a religious exemption, but to continue working in Washington she must be tested every week.
Therese is more radical, and is adamantly opposed to all vaccines. He explains that he traveled from Michigan to protest what he calls an “attack” on freedoms.
“Vaccines don’t work, they are lying to us,” says this also sixty-year-old who also asks to be identified only by her first name.
Further up the steps are people in white coats, introduced as doctors from Texas who take turns speaking. “We are Americans and that is our thing: We fight against tyranny!” someone throws from the podium.
There are signs with messages like “My body, my choice” or “God is our rock and will defeat Goliath.” There are also many messages against Joe Biden, amid flags emblazoned with the name of Donald Trump.
Faced with the requirement of the city of Washington to show the vaccination certificate to go to a restaurant or a movie, Isaac Six, 34, jokes: “Okay, we’re saving money.”
The man believes that vaccines in general “are wonderful, they have helped millions of people” around the world, but “that people are forced to get vaccinated, especially when the vaccine does not completely prevent transmission”, he thinks ” irrational”.
Unlike others in the demonstration, who see in the compulsory vaccination against Covid-19 a threat to democracy, Six is shown to be confident in the democratic system. What worries him are the policies adopted “in a context of fear and panic” and “by decree”, he says.