Thousands gathered outside of state’s Capitol Building to protest the state’s mandate, and were seen belting out the national anthem at one point.
“We’re adults and we know how to take care of ourselves,” Kelly Coyle, former state Department of Transportation employee, . “I don’t believe you should force someone to inject something in their body that they don’t want and lose your livelihood,” Coyle said she was forced into early retirement over Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s for state workers.
Between 2,500 and 3,000 people attended the rally dubbed, “No, you move” Rally Against the Mandate, on Sunday to protest Inslee’s vaccine mandate for the roughly 63,000 state workers in Washington. State workers are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18.
Video footage from the rally also showed the protesters breaking out into the national anthem, while holding American flags and signs reading, “Stand for health freedom,” and “No forced vaccination.”
Coyle explained that she was granted a religious exemption from the mandate, but that her employer told her that the office could not accommodate her because she posed a risk to others. She then decided to retire.
“I feel for those people who are losing their jobs,” Thurston County resident Dena Eagan, who attended the rally with Coyle, told the Olympian. “I’m here to stand with all these other people. It’s our bodies, our choice.”
“I don’t even get the flu shot,” another attendee of the rally, Cowlitz County resident Theresa Pringle, told The Olympian. “That’s where choice comes in. I’m a very healthy retiree who can choose. Some people who are not as healthy also can choose.”
Rallies against vaccine mandates have been cropping up across the country in recent weeks. Healthcare workers have protested outside hospitals holding signs such as, “Last Year’s Heroes, This Year’s Unemployed.” A massive rally in New York City was also held last month, when former and current teachers marched against the vaccine mandate and were seen chanting, “F–k Joe Biden.”