LA Will Establish A 'Protest Zone' At Dodger Stadium To Avoid Future Incidents
In case you missed it, approximtely 30-50 anti-vaccine, COVID-denying protesters forced the L.A. Fire Department to close the gate to the Dodger Stadium vaccination site for about an hour on Saturday, after they blocked the entrance as they held signs with messages such as "COVID=scam."
Today, city officials said they will establish a "protest zone" at the stadium, to avoid a repeat of Saturday's fiasco — in case of future protests.
Individuals who were already inside the stadium parking lot gates when the protest began were able to get their shots, but those outside were forced to wait until the demonstrators were moved to the sidewalk.
Most of the protesters were not wearing masks, and a lot of the folks at the stadium waiting to get their vaccine were senior citizens, who are at a high risk for contracting the coronavirus.
Firefighter David Ortiz explained the department's decision to close the gate:
"The Fire Department did not want to have people walking around the Dodger site for various reasons, including the personal safety of the protesters and also the safety of our workers, some of whom have not been vaccinated [which includes a lot of our volunteers]."
But he also said the incident shouldn't be blown out of proportion.
"This group that was out there protesting was a minor delay for us" Ortiz added. "And the impact was minimal."
LAPD Tweeted that they did not close the gates (LAFD did) and that the "protestors remained peaceful." Curbed LA Editor Alyssa Walker and others responded, arguing that stopping "a life-threatening medical procedure from being administered is *not* peaceful."
They were interfering with city emergency operations. They weren't wearing masks, which violates local health orders. They weren't in cars, which you are required to use at this site.— Alissa Walker (@awalkerinLA) January 31, 2021
Trying to stop a life-threatening medical procedure from being administered is *not* peaceful.
Here is the full statement from a spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Garcetti's office:
"Out of an abundance of caution, the LAFD temporarily closed the entrance to the Dodger Stadium vaccination site for 55 minutes on Saturday, while vaccinations continued being administered within the gates. LAPD responded, the entrance was reopened, and no appointments were cancelled. The City is reviewing vaccine site safety protocol and will be setting up a protest zone in the event of any future protests."
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