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Hundreds rally against Larimer County COVID-19 restrictions

A group of rally-goers gather outside the Fort Collins Colorado Public Health Building Nov. 1. Individuals voiced concerns about varying topics including personal freedoms, vaccine mandates, and health policies. (Garrett Mogel | The Collegian) .
A group of rally-goers gather outside the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment offices Nov. 1. Individuals voiced concerns about varying topics, including personal freedoms, vaccine mandates and health policies. (Garrett Mogel | The Collegian)

Hundreds of people gathered in the snow Nov. 1 to voice concerns about vaccine mandates among a variety of other issues related to Larimer County COVID-19 public health policy and personal freedoms near the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment offices.

The rally was partially in response to Larimer County’s recent Vaccine Verified Facility & Event Program. According to the Larimer County website, the program is currently on pause to hear feedback and address questions from the community.

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Del Bigtree CEO of Informed Consent Action Network, and host of the internet talk show the high wire stated at a rally against vaccine mandates, “If I don’t control what is injected into me I no longer have the rights of a citizen of the United States of America Im no longer the one in control of my government the government now owns my body so my rights have been reduced to that of a farm animal.” Nov. 1. The rally took place outside the Larimer County Health Department Offices, 1525 Blue Spruce Drive Fort Collins Colorado. (Garrett Mogel | The Collegian)
Del Bigtree, CEO of the Informed Consent Action Network and host of “The HighWire with Del Bigtree,” stated at a rally against vaccine mandates Nov. 1, “If I don’t control what is injected into me, I no longer have the rights of a citizen of the United States of America. I’m no longer the one in control of my government; the government now owns my body, so my rights have been reduced to that of a farm animal.” The rally took place outside the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment offices in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Garrett Mogel | The Collegian)

The program is meant to be an exception to the current County mask mandate. Under the program, businesses could choose to have certain hours when only vaccinated individuals are allowed in the business and masks are not required during those hours. The program is entirely optional for businesses that wish to have more flexibility in their mask policies. 

The rally featured a number of opinions about this public health policy but also significant concerns about mask mandates and the idea of a vaccine passport. Some demonstrators worried that a vaccine passport would be a policy that requires individuals to show vaccine certification to participate in many day-to-day tasks. The rally included a variety of speakers who spoke about their views on vaccine and public health policy.

Del Bigtree, CEO of the Informed Consent Action Network and host of “The HighWire with Del Bigtree,” was the main speaker at the event. He spoke about vaccines, saying, “We have to understand the science.”

He then explained how he believes the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment is uneducated and offered a range of explanations for being hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine. Another featured speaker was Kevin Jenkins, CEO of the Urban Global Health Alliance. Jenkins compared the idea of vaccine passports to a modern-day slave system, saying, “The slave passport is the gateway to perpetual slavery.”

Michelle Malkin at a rally against vaccine mandates near the Larimer County Public Health offices on Blue Spruce Dr. Nov. 1.
Michelle Malkin speaks at a rally against vaccine mandates near the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment offices on Blue Spruce Drive Nov. 1. Malkin led a variety of chants, including “Our country, our choice” in regard to vaccine policy. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

Michelle Malkin, a political commentator, was another speaker at the event. She led the crowd in a variety of chants relating to vaccine mandates, including, “Resist the fascists,” “My children, my choice” and “Our country, our choice.” Some other speakers were candidates for Colorado governor and other state politicians, including Kevin Lundberg, a former senator for Colorado. 

Among the hundreds of attendees at the rally, there was a wide range of opinions, signs and flags. The crowd was energetic, with bells and drums sounding in support of the speakers.

Rachel Wretch, dressed as an American patriot, at a rally against vaccine mandates near the Larimer County Public Health offices on Blue Spruce Dr. Nov. 1.
Rachel Wretch is dressed as an American revolutionary at a rally against vaccine mandates near the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment offices on Blue Spruce Drive Nov. 1. Wretch stated that she was at the rally to support “no masks, no passport, no nothing. I just want to roam free like normal human beings should.” (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

Many other participants had signs and flags. Some signs read, “My body, my choice,” while others featured anti-vaccine comments or raised questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Residents from Larimer County as well as others from across the country demonstrated in this rally a concern that COVID-19 public health measures could lead to a restriction of personal freedom and choice. 

For more information about Larimer County’s COVID-19 guidelines, visit their website.

Reach Ryan Schmidt and Garrett Mogel at photo@collegian.com

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About the Contributor
Garrett Mogel
Garrett Mogel, Photo Director
Garrett Mogel is a third-year journalism student with a second field in philosophy. He is one of two photo directors for the 2023-24 school year.  Growing up in Colorado and surrounded by dreamlike landscapes and adventure sports, it was only a matter of time before Mogel picked up a camera. For over a decade, Mogel explored Colorado, portaging rivers, postholing through several feet of snow, rappelling over cliffs and skinning up mountains, all with a camera in hand. Through his adventures, Mogel began attaching stories to images and began to engage viewers in conversation about their favorite areas. Eventually, Mogel’s passion for photography and storytelling drew him to pursue a degree and career in photojournalism.  In his years at college, Mogel has worked with The Collegian every year. In progressing through the publication, Mogel has seen all the ways student media fosters growth both individually as well as through collaboration. Additionally, the opportunity to witness how impactful a story can be on a personal, organizational and community level is his greatest lesson thus far.  Beyond The Collegian, Mogel still finds time to appreciate his Colorado upbringing. When not on assignment, he can usually be found mountain biking, skiing, camping, river surfing or at home planning his next adventure.

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