Two California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers and three Golden Gate Bridge workers were injured by a vehicle during a chaotic protest scene Thursday evening relating to vaccine mandates in the workplace and vaccines in general.
There are still some people in the Bay Area who really distrust science and who really don't like being told to get vaccinated despite a worldwide pandemic, and a couple hundred of those people gathered at the Golden Gate Bridge Thursday evening to make their grievances known. And that scene turned dangerous and potentially deadly when a traffic backup near the toll plaza led to a collision that injured multiple people, including two CHP officers.
As KTVU reports, the collision happened around 6 p.m., which was at the tail-end of a three-hour demonstration that began in the visitor parking lot near the toll plaza, and which included a couple hundred people at its peak. Of the five who were struck by a vehicle, two were treated at the scene and released, and three were taken by ambulance to Marin Health for evaluation.
The collision appears to have occurred in one of the northbound lanes, after CHP officers had formed a line to prevent protesters from getting on the bridge to block traffic. Traffic became snarled anyway, with CHP blocking at least one lane, and as ABC 7 describes it, "an SUV collided with a street sweeper pushing it into a line of CHP officers."
Three Golden Gate Bridge workers were also reportedly struck.
Here’s that crash near the anti-vaccine protest at the Golden Gate Bridge, as seen on NBC Bay Area.— Demian Bulwa (@demianbulwa) November 12, 2021
Looks unintentional — clipped tires? pic.twitter.com/WIk1XImgEe
The protest was focused on "freedom" over workplace and other vaccine mandates, with protesters crowing to ABC 7 about how they should be able to choose what goes into their bodies, even though many workplaces have mandated multiple vaccines for other diseases for decades and THIS IS A PANDEMIC.
It's not clear where this group largely hailed from, but given one of them had a sign that said "Unmask Ur Brain" and at least one lady was draped in one of those "Don't Tread on Me" flags popular with Trumpers, I'm going to wager a lot of them weren't from San Francisco.
The protest was organized under the banner/hashtag #AxetheVax, and one of the listed featured speakers was Trump's favorite COVID-denier quack doctor, Dr. Stella Immanuel, though it's not clear she was there.
Protestors peacefully rallying near the Golden Gate Bridge on Nov. 11th at the Nationwide Walkout Rally in San Fransisco.— Leigh Dundas / Freedom Fighter Nation (@Dundas_Official) November 12, 2021
Go to: https://t.co/PcJ2S1Fwbp to learn more #AxeTheVax #Nationwidewalkout pic.twitter.com/WNev1XsH7I
But there were some firefighters in fire gear present, and we know that several dozen SFPD officers still haven't gotten their vaccines, because somehow a lot of police unions nationwide have really dug in their heels about this "freedom" from mandates as well. Nonetheless, 96% of the SFPD was vaccinated as of the city's November 1 deadline — and one of those who wasn't just died from COVID at age 46.
One protester, Hawk Newsome, spoke to reporters from both ABC 7 and KTVU, saying to the former, "I'm advocating for choice in this issue, I don't want people to be forced to put anything in their bodies." And to KTVU, he said, "There's a lot of Black people whose voices are silent in this fight, Black people who are going to be unemployed, we're talking about teachers and firefighters."
Yes, and if you don't want to get vaccinated in a pandemic, maybe you should seek some line of work where you don't interact with the public, or children, or protect public safety. Also, your privileges to eat out at restaurants or ride on airplanes should be revoked.