President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate sparked a brutal four-hour protest on Saturday afternoon outside the Lincoln County Courthouse.
Up to 150 people were in attendance at the height of the rally, which began around noon with a speech by State Senator Mike Groene after welcoming words from Brenda Fourtner, a legislative candidate who described herself as a person. naturally private.
“If I can do it with my social anxiety, everyone can do their part,” Fourtner said. “They’re not going to give us a choice, so we’re going to fight them.”
“This must be our time,” she said. “This is our America. We are not going to let them take it. “
Groene said several state senators were responding to such outcry by asking Gov. Pete Ricketts to convene a special session on the federal immunization mandate. He said the senators’ request would be forwarded to the Nebraska Secretary of State on Monday morning. The secretary will then contact each of the 49 state senators to see whether or not they want an extraordinary session. If 33 senators request the session, it will take place. If the number falls a bit short, Ricketts could go ahead and call the session anyway, Groene said.
Groene said he would not accept any bill or resolution “that does not guarantee 100% personal freedom”. He urged the crowd to stand up and fight the vaccination mandate, even though they are afraid of the consequences.
“They say a coward kills 1,000,” he said, “but a brave person dies only once. I say, let freedom ring.
The rally was organized in about three days via social media and personal contacts, organizers said. It was triggered by Bailey Yard railway workers who oppose the vaccination mandate.
Workers are expected to start getting vaccinated by October 26, according to a note from Union Pacific management. The deadline to be fully immunized is December 8.
The vaccination mandate sparked objections across the county, including lawsuits.
In Union Pacific’s letter to workers, they said workers did not have the option to take a weekly test instead of getting vaccinated. According to the letter, federal government contractors are not allowed to “test” the mandate, and Union Pacific has federal contracts.
UP spokeswoman Susan xxx told the Newsletter that “all employees are required to report immunization status or have approved medical or religious accommodation by the federally prescribed deadline (October 8).” Medical exemption requests must be signed by a doctor and religious exemption requests must be explained in detail, the company said.
Chris Bruns, another candidate for the state legislature, told the crowd that the issue unites political opponents, and he was happy his opponent invited him to attend.
“This is government overreach,” Bruns said. “We must oppose it together. We defend individual freedom.
Bruns told the audience, “Let’s make sure they hear us.
Other speakers said the immunization mandate violated the individual’s right to make their own choices and would inevitably lead to increased government control, through ongoing immunization programs or worse.
Union Pacific workers are threatening to quit their jobs, which, if it happens, could hurt the economy of the Western States as well as North Platte. Protesters hope businesses will join their fight so that it can be won quickly.
“How can you force vaccination against something that has a death rate of less than 1%?” Asked a speaker. “Vaccination shouldn’t be anyone’s decision except an individual and their doctor.”
The protesters carried signs that read such things as “Mandate Freedom of Choice” and “We will not comply” and “My rights do not end with your press release”.
One of the sign carriers was Nichole Sanchez, who said she lost her job with Nebraska Medicine at the University of Nebraska because she refused to be vaccinated. She was working from home in North Platte to schedule medical center patients, but was due for her first injection on October 8.
Sanchez said she and her children had antibodies, but it made no difference. There was no offer to waive. She said she probably got the antibodies when she looked after her husband and father a year ago, both of whom had COVID-19, without personal protective equipment. She said she was probably exposed by then, although she never got sick. Recent tests show her two children, aged 4 to 5, also have antibodies. She doesn’t see the need for the vaccine now.
Speakers stressed that the vaccines are new and can be described as experimental. They noted that the Union Pacific operated for over a year during the worst of the pandemic, and now that the worst seems to be over, it makes no sense for them to get the vaccine. They suspect that the underlying motivation is control, not better health.
Others said it was money and allege hospitals receive about $ 10,000 in federal payments per COVID-19 patient. If so, this financial incentive can inflate the numbers and the gravity of the situation.
Cars honked as they passed to show their support. The horns seemed to become more frequent as the afternoon progressed. The rally was widely publicized on Facebook.
Another speaker lambasted the unions for their contribution to the Democratic Party.
Another stakeholder said he had a son who had recently retired from the military in “Communist California” and told his father not to let this happen in Nebraska.
Dressed in bright red-white and blue outfits, Serafin Martinez and his family from Colorado moved to Nebraska in March because they were too under control in Colorado. Serafin worked in a can factory, making cans for soft drinks and other beverages. He often worked overtime. He said he was relatively isolated at work, used a machine but was fired because he did not want to comply with a mask warrant. He said it was hot in the factory and the mask irritated his face, and management didn’t have to wear them in their offices. His wife, a fitness trainer, lost her job when gyms were forced to close for three months.
Serafin pointed out the irony of making non-alcoholic drinks essential but putting an end to personal fitness.
“We are here for freedom,” he said. “We thought it would be fun to dress up and show our support.”
A prayer was said for health and courage, asking God to open the doors for those who are made redundant or resign from their jobs, and “to close the doors that must be closed”.
Members of the crowd who wore hats would take them off to recite the pledge of allegiance and then toss them into the air.
People lined up to sign petitions that “urge our leaders to act now to uphold our constitutional rights.”
Fourtner said a friend has COVID-19 and after suffering at home he went to the emergency room but was turned down for “Bam” antibody treatment because she was not vaccinated. She was told to go home and take ibuprofen instead.
She said her mother-in-law had apparently been over-prescribed for remdesivir and her kidneys were failing. Now she is on a ventilator.
These situations motivated her to become more active, she said. She also believes the vaccination mandate is the first step in a massive but ineffective government intrusion into people’s lives.
“It’s not just for the railroad workers, it’s for our nurses, our entire front line,” Fourtner said before the rally began in a Facebook post. “It’s for our police. They are with us every day. We also need to stand by their side and stop hurting them. It’s time, guys. Start asking for resignations, not just in Nebraska but across the country. Go. I am so angry that I have to go out like this. Go “live” on your social networks. Make a loud noise.
Kearney’s Nebraska Television (NTV) covered the rally, as did the Newsletter and KNOP-TV.
Melanie Standiford of KNOP-TV connected to a national show “Local News Live” and three of the speakers were able to address potential national audiences for a few minutes.
© 2021 Le Bulletin de la Platte Nord. All rights reserved.