Thousands of anti-mask and vaccine mandate protesters rallied on the mall in Washington, D.C., on Sunday to voice opposition to the Biden administration's COVID-19 mask and vaccine policies.
Gathering at the base of the Washington Monument, and then marching to the Lincoln Memorial, the protesters held signs saying, "Make Love Not Mandates!!" and "Coercion is Not Choice."
COVID-19 has killed more than 860,000 people in the United States – and more than 5.5 million globally -- over the two-year-long pandemic and has weighed heavily on the economy.
On January 13, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccination-or-testing mandate for large businesses -- a policy the conservative justices deemed an improper imposition on the lives and health of many Americans -- while endorsing a separate federal vaccine requirement for health care facilities.
Many U.S. companies have implemented mandatory mask-wearing policies to protect their workers, as have various municipalities and cultural organizations.
Masks remain polarizing. Biden, a Democrat, recently urged people to wear masks and noted that about a third of Americans report they do not wear masks at all. Many Republican-leaning states have no mask requirements. Some Democratic-governed states such as California have reimposed indoor mask mandates.