LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A crowd of nearly 200 people gathered on the steps of the Arkansas Capitol Wednesday to rally against vaccine mandates that they say take away their medical freedoms.
The event, organized by Republican senatorial candidate Jan Morgan, featured speeches by many conservative lawmakers from around the state.
Speaking to the crowd, Morgan said people should not be scared of the government but that the government should be scared of the people, adding that the public should fight against any future health-related mandates.
“The people you elect to represent you are here to be the voice for you!” she told the protesters.
State Senator Trent Garner (R-El Dorado) spoke out on several issues like school mandates and quarantine protocols to vaccine passports, saying he “never thought we would take our children out of school, forcing parents to take off work and teach them as impromptu teachers.”
Garner in recent days has filed bills to have people who were fired for refusing to take a vaccine eligible for unemployment and to have the state consider natural immunity to COVID-19 as the same as being vaccinated. During the rally he warned of what he called the threat of vaccine passports.
“We’ll see them in other states where you have to have them to go to the movies, where you have to have it to enjoy a meal, where you have to have it to have basic life and freedom,” he claimed.
State Senator Jason Rapert (R-Conway) was also leading the cry against employer vaccine mandates for both public and private entities.
“To any business owner or corporation that is listening, how can you in good conscience fire somebody that has worked for you and done a good job?” he asked.
Legislators say they will do what they can to prevent from perceived overreach, while other elected officials encouraged rallygoers to be more involved in the process of government in order to have their opinions heard and hopefully influence lawmakers and executives to resist against any further mandates and restrictions.
Washington County Judge Joseph Wood put the challenge bluntly for the gathered crowd – the task will be tough.
“Friends if you’re not ready to walk through the fire, you’re probably wasting your time being out here.”