Florida anti-maskers sporting MAGA t-shirts and hats march through Target shouting 'take off your mask' in video
Anti-mask protesters in Forida, sporting President Donald Trump's MAGA t-shirts and hats, were filmed defying coronavirus safety rules and marching without masks through a Target store. The anti-maskers, during this demonstration, were filmed shouting: "Take off your mask!"
A video of the demonstrators shared online shows a small group of people, marching without masks through the aisles of a store on North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, shouting "take it off" at other customers as some comply and cheer while others record the scene on their cellphones. The incident occurred in Florida, which has been hit hard by the deadly coronavirus with cases exceeding 671,000 and death toll nearing 13,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. Despite the surging cases in the state, Governor Ron DeSantis has not yet issued a statewide mask mandate for public places. However, several businesses in the region, including Target, have introduced countrywide rules, requiring its staff and customers to wear protective face coverings inside their establishment.
The anti-masker video, which is being widely shared on social media, also shows some children parading through the store along with the adults, with some swinging their masks in their hands. None of the anti-maskers in the video are seen wearing any protective face covering. Many of the demonstrators, however, were seen wearing Trump merchandise including MAGA t-shirts and hats and one person wore a t-shirt with former President Barack Obama wearing a Trump hat. One of the demonstrators was also seen holding a speaker and playing We're Not Gonna Take It' by Twisted Sister.
Anti-maskers in Florida invade a Target pic.twitter.com/Z8TWbl8ihD— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) September 16, 2020
One of the protesters, identified as Cristina Gomez, live-streamed the demonstration on her social media account. She said: "If an infant doesn't wear a mask, then no one should wear a mask. People looking at us like, 'What's going on?' Isn't it crazy how people now look at me like we crazy because we don't have a mask on? I think y'all crazy for having a mask."
The footage shared by Gomez also showed a man wearing a MAGA t-shirt standing on the trailer of a vehicle parked outside the store before the protest as he shouted about being "sick and tired of having to wear one of these things." "If somebody wants to wear a mask to go into a grocery store let them wear a masks but how is it that if their mask is working that I have to wear one too," he shouted, before throwing his mask on the floor.
Reports state that before the demonstration in the store, Gomez had promoted the "anti-mask flash mob" on her Facebook page. Gomez had gone viral on social media in June for denouncing a local mask mandate at a public meeting of Palm Beach County commissioners, claiming masks were "killing people." She had claimed people wearing masks were "obeying the devil's laws". "You literally cannot mandate somebody to wear a mask knowing that that mask is killing people," she said. "Every single one of you that are obeying the devil's laws are going to be arrested and you, doctor, are going to be arrested for crimes against humanity."
Floridians angrily claiming masks are the work of the devil because “they want to throw God’s wonderful breathing system out the door.” pic.twitter.com/5pDzU8ncwY— John Aravosis :us::flag-gr::rainbow-flag: (@aravosis) June 24, 2020
Target, in a statement to HuffPost, said that they were "aware of the group of guests who came into the store last night and we asked them to leave after they removed their masks and became disruptive and rude to other shoppers."
The anti-mask demonstration came hours before the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testified under oath that a face mask offers better protection against Covid-19 than a vaccine. CDC Director Robert Redfield, in a Senate hearing on Wednesday, September 16, said: "I am going to comment as the CDC director that face masks — these face masks — are the most important, powerful public health tool that we have."