A group of around 50 people gathered in front of the County Courthouse on Sunday morning said they were protesting the mandatory mask mandate that went into effect on Friday. Some of them bore signs such as “It’s not about a virus, it’s about control.”
Organizer Kristina Charles, a prominent speaker at the event, said, “I organized it because I kept seeing the onslaught of unconstitutional overreach, because it’s criminal to tell people what they can or can’t do and put on their own body. It says in our Tennessee Constitution that they can’t be doing this. I will not tell my kids when they grow up, that I did nothing for their freedom.”
She and many of the other protesters said there are alternative and non-mainstream sources or studies to support their viewpoint.
“I believe they need to do their own research, and they’re only following what the media is telling them to do instead of actually going in and digging and researching on your own what the masks protect you from and the side-effects of wearing a mask,” said Ms. Charles.
One vocal protester handed out statistics about the virus, which showed what were purported to be numbers involving the virus.
She said that she believed people should have a choice over whether or not they want to wear a mask. She personally said she did not want herself or her children to wear one, and would not be frequenting any businesses that requires a mask to enter.
Eugenio Jorge, a Cuban immigrant who has lived in America for decades, said he believed this mandate would contribute to a gradual erosion of liberties, and compared it to what Fidel Castro did in Cuba in the 50’s.
“What I see is the same thing Castro did in Cuba,” said Mr. Jorge. “The first thing he did was take away the weapons, and the second thing he did was using the media to brainwash the population. That’s what they’ve done here. Most people are ill-informed through these channels that are lying and lying about the best president we have ever had since Lincoln.”
Ms. Charles said this protest is just the first of what will be many.
“We are wanting to put together weekly demonstrations, here or in Knoxville or anywhere in Tennessee.”