A protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other issues on Saturday at the Capitol in Olympia. The trucks were part of a local convoy that traveled to Olympia for the protest. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other issues on Saturday at the Capitol in Olympia. The trucks were part of a local convoy that traveled to Olympia for the protest. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Demonstrators rally in Olympia against state COVID-19 mandates

GOP Rep. Robert Sutherland of Granite Falls told the crowd he was denied entrance to the statehouse because he refused to get tested.

Seattle Times and Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Opponents of Gov. Jay Inslee’s public-health restrictions to curb COVID-19 descended on the Washington Capitol campus Saturday with flags, signs and vehicle convoys.

Saturday’s demonstration was titled “Government Resistance Impedes Tyranny” and came as some of Inslee’s mandates are gradually being lifted.

Estimates earlier in the week projected that up to 2,500 people could show up at Saturday’s demonstration, which received a permit from state officials.

But at its peak, a Washington State Patrol spokesperson estimated the crowd at about 700 people.

A related and un-permitted event Saturday was expected to bring multiple vehicle convoys to protest Inslee’s mandates. But those were made up of “small groups of vehicles,” according to State Patrol Sgt. Darren Wright, and “no significant traffic issues” popped up.

Still, an energetic crowd Saturday held signs that read “Mandates are illegal” and “You are fired Jay Inslee.”

Gadsden “Don’t Tread On Me” flags were plentiful, as were those supporting former President Donald Trump and others with expletives aimed at President Joe Biden.

Speakers included initiative activist Tim Eyman, several Republican state lawmakers and GOP candidates for Congress. They protested the governor’s emergency orders and other actions taken by the Democratic majorities in the Legislature.

That included the passage by Democrats late Friday of a bill to bar the sale, manufacture and distribution of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Republican Rep. Robert Sutherland of Granite Falls told the crowd he was denied entrance to the statehouse on Friday because he refused to get tested for COVID-19.

“I don’t have COVID. I’m healthy. You can’t keep the people’s representatives from working,” he said. Sutherland said he yelled an expletive at the Legislature’s sergeant-at-arms, prompting cheers from the crowd.

State Sen. Phil Fortunato, a Republican from Auburn, told the crowd that it is “horrible being in the minority.” He asked people living in Democratic districts to work to elect more Republicans.

“We’re here, why? Because freedom is in danger,” state Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, told the cheering crowd.

The rally was organized by a coalition of groups, including the Washington Three Percenters, which has for years organized against what it describes as government tyranny.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been easing in Washington and around the nation, with large numbers of people now having some combination of vaccination, booster shots and natural immunity after recovering from the virus.

Others still are concerned about lifting restrictions too soon.

Inslee’s requirement for people to show verification of vaccination against COVID for large events was lifted March 1. Meanwhile, the statewide mask requirements for schools and businesses such as grocery stores, child care facilities, gyms, bars and other indoor establishments, are set to lift March 12.

Regardless, opponents have criticized those mandates, as well as an ongoing COVID-19 vaccine requirement for state and school employees, and hundreds of thousands of private health care workers. Those requirements — as well as Inslee’s underlying emergency proclamation — remain in effect.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

The Supreme Court in Washington D.C. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Supreme Court limits EPA in curbing power plant emissions

This impacts how the nation’s main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Washington state.
Washington state license plates prices increase July 1

The price of a new plate will rise from $10 to $50, and replacing a lost plate will increase from $10 to $30.

Hundreds gather to listen to a lineup of guest speakers during Snohomish County’s “Bans Off Our Bodies” rally Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the county courthouse in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade; states can ban abortion

The decision is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

FILE - In this photo provided by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, a crane and boats are anchored next to a collapsed "net pen" used by Cooke Aquaculture Pacific to farm Atlantic Salmon near Cypress Island in Washington state on Aug. 28, 2017, after a failure of the nets allowed tens of thousands of the nonnative fish to escape. A Washington state jury on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, awarded the Lummi Indian tribe $595,000 over the 2017 collapse of the net pen where Atlantic salmon were being raised, an event that elicited fears of damage to wild salmon runs and prompted the Legislature to ban the farming of the nonnative fish. (David Bergvall/Washington State Department of Natural Resources via AP, File)
Jury awards $595,000 to Lummi tribe for salmon pen collapse

The tribe sued, saying the pen owner had not reimbursed the tribal government for its clean up effort.

FILE - Alaska Airlines planes are parked at gates with Mount Rainier in the background at sunrise, on March 1, 2021, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. A union has reached a deal Wednesday, June 22, 2022, with Seattle-based Alaska Airlines for a two-year contract extension that provides substantial raises for 5,300 gate agents, stores personnel and office staff, as well as for ramp workers who load cargo. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Alaska Airlines reaches contract deal with some workers

Raises for gate agents, stores personnel, office staff, as well as ramp workers who load cargo.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Seattle facing $117 million revenue shortfall in 2023

The city’s budget chief says there’s no easy way to bridge the gap.

A view from the lower undeveloped part of the Flowery Trail neighborhood looking at spots where slash piles have been burned - outside Chewelah, Wash. (Erick Doxey / InvestigateWest)
Growing sprawl in state’s woods comes with high wildfire risk

Policymakers and homeowners are scrambling to manage the so-called “wildland-urban interface” to mitigate the threat.

The kids thought it was milk. It was actually floor sealant

In Juneau, containers of the chemical were stacked on the same pallet as boxes containing pouches of milk.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Initiative to change Seattle elections heads toward ballot

The initiative would alter the way Seattle elects mayors, city attorneys and City Council members.

Lynnwood
Lynnwood climber supports first all-Black Mount Everest summit bid

Fred Campbell was part of the historic expedition, but got sick and had to turn back before the submit.

The A.J. Eisenberg Airport in Oak Harbor. (Karina Andrew / Whidbey News-Times)
Local pilot plans to buy Whidbey Island airport

Robert DeLaurentis, known as the “Zen Pilot,” submitted a letter of intent to purchase the A.J. Eisenberg Airport.