Anti-mask protesters in California staged demonstrations against coronavirus safety restrictions at several stores in Los Angeles on Sunday, leading to some violent altercations, drawing police attention, and involving plenty of shouting.
Videos of the protests were shared by Beverly Hills Courier writer Samuel Braslow on Twitter, who documented the protesters as they began demonstrating at a Century City Ralph's grocery store and moved on to the Westfield mall.
In the first video, an unmasked man walks into the grocery store as another masked customer recording with his smart phone repeatedly asks him to put on a mask and warns "you're gonna get sick." Other shoppers shout unintelligibly in the background.
Today, a group of anti-maskers protested at Ralph’s and the Century City shopping mall. Lots of angry confrontation… https://t.co/lSQYiCJmZY— Samuel Braslow (@Samuel Braslow)1609726551.0
Some violent altercations broke out as the protesters were met with opposition from shoppers.
One woman who refused to wear a mask at the Ralph's grocery store claimed that a masked customer hit her and in response she attempted to ram him with her shopping cart and shouted at him. She was later seen kicking the man.
As the shopper was checking out, the anti-masker kicked him. “Some guy take care of him out there, come on patrio… https://t.co/8uNOLY4cNQ— Samuel Braslow (@Samuel Braslow)1609726608.0
Another protester called a shopper a "mask Nazi" and insisted he didn't need to wear a mask because he had tested negative for the coronavirus.
One protester suggests he doesn’t need to wear a mask bc he tested negative. He calls a shopper a “mask Nazi.” https://t.co/UFMBb78tcu— Samuel Braslow (@Samuel Braslow)1609726644.0
The maskless protesters then moved on to the nearby Century City Mall, where they entered Bloomingdale's and other stores. Store staff unsuccessfully attempted to make the protesters leave. LAPD reportedly arrived at the scene but did not attempt to remove the protesters from the premises.
The protesters chanted "no more masks!" as they moved throughout the stores, which are privately owned.
Content warning: Rough launguage
The group of about 20 circulated around the 3 floors, chanting “no more masks,” and “fuck communist China.” https://t.co/zhq7ka3jiL— Samuel Braslow (@Samuel Braslow)1609727549.0
At one point the demonstrators erupted into impromptu dance, singing "YMCA."
The anti maskers have a little dance party on the floor of @Bloomingdales, dancing to the MAGA version of YMCA. https://t.co/3qEBPYrHvv— Samuel Braslow (@Samuel Braslow)1609727573.0
Other videos show the anti-mask protesters having verbal confrontations with food court employees, and in one video police stepped in when one shopper allegedly pushed a protester on camera. Officers later told Braslow that no charges were pressed.
The protester reviews footage of the incident with police. It seems to show the shoppers putting their hands over o… https://t.co/S7qzTXb7G0— Samuel Braslow (@Samuel Braslow)1609730139.0
One woman who said she is a doctor shouted at the demonstrators, saying that her mother is in the hospital with COVID. A protester responded, "people die, your father's not special."
A woman who said she’s a doctor yells at the anti-maskers that her mother is in the hospital with COVID. A proteste… https://t.co/x0jMcVVkft— Samuel Braslow (@Samuel Braslow)1609730163.0
Another reporter at the scene, Emily Holshouser with CSUN-TV, said that the police who were present at the demonstrations explained that they did not intervene save for some "brief altercations" because they did not want to escalate the situation.
As the event was ending, the new L.A. County COVID numbers came out. 12,488 new cases, 91 new deaths, 7,544 hospitalizations.— Emily Holshouser (@Emily Holshouser)1609728056.0
Holshouser noted that the latest COVID case numbers for L.A. County show 12,488 new cases, 91 new deaths, and 7,544 hospitalizations.