BROOKINGS – A “freedom rally” was held outside 3M and Hy-Vee along 22nd Avenue Thursday afternoon, drawing more than 100 people outfitted with American flags and posters.
The rally was a response to recent COVID-19 vaccine mandates put forth by the Biden administration and other entities. In recent weeks, Sioux Falls has seen rallies in opposition to mandates put forth by Avera and Sanford health systems. According to a number of attendees, some of whom were vaccinated, the location for this rally was in protest of the recent announcement that 3M would comply with the Biden administration’s vaccine and test mandate.
“I have several people I work with whose spouses are worried they are going to lose their jobs because of the mandate,” said Mary Jo, an attendee who did not provide her last name. “I have three family members who are at risk of losing their jobs, and you can sit home and just gripe and get sucked into the drama, or we could come out here and stand up for what we believe in.”
The rally also had drivers “cruising by,” with a number of cars honking in response to the crowd.
“If you want to wear a mask go ahead, but don’t force other people to wear a mask,” said Bradley Walker, explaining that the event was a “personal choice, personal freedom” rally. “It’s all about not being forced to do something against your will.”
“It’s not anti-vax. It’s not anti-mask. It’s about forcing people to do something they don’t want to do,” Walker added.