Omar Navarro, a perennial political candidate who was previously convicted of attaching a tracking device to his wife’s car, stood outside Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday and warned that the coronavirus vaccines being distributed there were part of a mind-control project.
“What they’re doing here is a massive, massive, massive indoctrination. They want to basically hurt people because this vaccination is definitely not good,” Navarro said in a Facebook Live video, telling viewers the location of his protest. “Basically what the left is doing is using Dodger Stadium to mass-vaccinate people.”
Navarro was one of approximately 50 people to protest vaccinations outside the stadium, one of the largest such sites in America, this weekend. The group temporarily shut down access to the location—though officials said the measure was purely a precautionary one.
Their ranks were filled with fringe figures who had also recently attended other far-right actions, like anti-mask raids at shopping centers and the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the attack on the nation’s Capitol. The Los Angeles anti-mask events, in particular, have drawn criticism as opponents contrasted the light police response with the force targeted at racial justice protests last year.
Authorities, including Los Angeles Fire Department officials, temporarily stopped admitting drivers in response to the Saturday afternoon protest, a police spokesperson told The Daily Beast. They added that none of the protesters broke the law, and that no arrests were made.
Still, people waiting for vaccinations described the demonstration—in which marchers waved disinformation-rich signs about masks and vaccines, both of which are proven to be safe and effective—as the latest complication in the administrative nightmare of securing a shot.
“The anti–vax protestors have approached the entrance to the site. The LAPD have now closed the gate. We have been sitting here for about half an hour. Nobody is moving,” tweeted indie rocker Mikel Jollett, who was at the site accompanying his mother.
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Prior to the protest, advertisements circulated on anti-vaccination Facebook pages, including one notorious for leading maskless raids on Los Angeles stores called Shop Mask Free Los Angeles. The group was among the first to hype the action, the Los Angeles Times previously reported.
That group has been at the center of other headline-grabbing demonstrations, including a maskless raid on an LA shopping mall in early January, during which participants pounded on doors and demanded entrance to mall stores as masked workers tried to shut them out.
Included among the various flyers promoting the vaccine event on anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown Facebook pages was a request that attendees actively conceal their pro-Trump leanings.
“Dress code,” one read. “As much as it saddens me to ask, please refrain from wearing Trump/MAGA attire as we want our statement to resonate with the sheeple. No flags but informational signs welcomed!”
Administrators for Shop Mask Free Los Angeles did not return a request for comment on whether they had organized the event at Dodger Stadium. California resident Bryna Makowka, who attended the rally but denied organizing it, told The Daily Beast the event had been organized by a man in a top hat, whose name she did not know.
That man, Jason Lefkowitz, was among the first to promote the event on Facebook. On Twitter, where he claimed to have called police in advance to notify them of the demonstration, he previously implied that he’d organized an anti-mask shopping event in December. (He did not return a request for comment.)
Another rally attendee, Asefeh Shirafkan, has shared video of herself at a number of fringe events, including the protest outside Dodger Stadium, a maskless confrontation inside a Target, and the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Shirafkan, who does not appear to have entered the Capitol, recently tweeted a picture of herself in D.C. with Vincent Fusca, a man many believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory falsely believe to be JFK Jr. in disguise.
Reached for comment, Shirafkan texted The Daily Beast “fuck off” and a plea to watch a video about Bill Gates.
Actor Siaka Massaquoi, who did not return a request for comment, also filmed himself outside the Capitol (which he does not appear to have entered) and at the Dodger Stadium rally. “Great time protesting sheep running to get a vaccine you don’t need!!” he wrote on Instagram. “So much the authorities closed the entrance cause there were scared we would ‘storm.’”
Navarro—whose campaign office did not return a request for comment—racked up 32,000 views on his video outside Dodger Stadium.
“The real virus are the Democrats,” he said on Facebook Live. “That’s the real virus, guys.”