About 50 protesters gathered at the stadium entrance, holding signs with anti-vaccine and anti-mask rhetoric and shouting at drivers who were lined up for their vaccination appointments. No vaccine appointments were canceled, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Fire Department told BuzzFeed News.
The LAFD closed the stadium entrance as a precaution for about 55 minutes beginning at 2 p.m., the Los Angeles Times reported. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, protesters remained peaceful.
Social media posts and a livestream from the protest showed participants wielding signs with false anti-vaccine claims and screeds against masks, lockdown measures, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The protesters attempted to engage with people waiting in their cars.
Dodger Stadium is one of the largest vaccination sites in the country, serving a region currently grappling with a particularly deadly wave of COVID-19. As of Saturday, there were 5,669 people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Los Angeles County, with more than 1.1 million cases and 16,647 deaths recorded in the county since the pandemic began.
Earlier this month, anti-mask protesters calling COVID-19 a “con job” harassed shoppers at an LA mall and grocery store. It was not immediately clear whether the two protest groups were connected.
Los Angeles County has also suspended environmental limits on cremation due to a backlog of bodies at hospitals, funeral homes, and crematoriums as a result of COVID-19.
Musician and LA resident Mikel Jollett tweeted that his mother’s vaccination appointment was delayed due to the protest. His 69-year-old mother, Bonnie, was eventually able to get the vaccine once the site reopened, said Jollett, who fronts rock band Airborne Toxic Event.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the protest was advertised as the “Scamdemic Protest/March” and asked participants to “refrain from wearing Trump/MAGA attire as we want our statement to resonate with the sheeple. No flags but informational signs only.”
State and local officials denounced the protest, with Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez calling the demonstration “unbelievable,” while others drew parallels to the far-right extremists responsible for the attempted coup at the US Capitol earlier this month.
Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and California state senator, described the protesters as extremists using intimidation and violence to further their false beliefs. Anti-vaxxers have regularly disrupted the California legislature in recent years, and Pan was assaulted by an anti-vax activist in 2019.
“These extremists have not yet been held accountable, so they continue to escalate violence against the body public,” Pan said in a statement. “We must now summon the political will to demand that domestic terrorists must face consequences for their words and actions. Our democracy and our lives depend on it.”