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'Tyranny': People protest face mask mandates

Masks

People gather Saturday in Uptown Greenwood to protest mask mandates.

“We’re here to fight tyranny, period.”

Those were the words of Vincent Laquitara, one of dozens who showed up Saturday in Uptown Greenwood to protest face mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Demonstrators lined the streets along the grassy median near the Uptown fountain and held signs with messages opposing ordinances requiring masks.

“I was looking to see if we could get some change out of some of the ordinances that have been put in place in the city,” Dustin Free said. “It doesn’t look like people are willing to budge on it, so we’re out here making an effort to get some of that stuff taken down.”

He said wearing a mask should be a matter of personal choice.

“I think any time you have local, state and federal governments involved with putting ordinances on people, it takes away their rights,” Free said. “It’s the wrong thing to do.”

Stacy Gray said the “breathe free” movement is what motivates him.

“That’s what I kind of stand on,” Gray said. “It’s my free right to choose. If people can say it’s my body, my choice to end life, then I should have the same right to say my body, my choice with putting something on my face or not.”

Gray also pointed to what he sees are logistical issues for him.

“I’ve got a big ol’ beard,” he said. “Any mask that I put on is not going to help me. You can ask OSHA. You can ask anybody else. To sit here and have my free rights of choice taken away, I don’t agree with that.”

So far, no one has pushed the issue with him, he said.

“I firmly believe, in my religion, it says that man is in the image of God, and men are not supposed to cover their faces,” Gray said. “That is denying the face of God.”

Kayla Kellett served for nine years overseas with the military. She said her freedom of choice is being “impressed upon.”

“If I can make a choice if I’m pregnant to kill a child, why can’t I make a choice to wear a mask or not?” Kellett said. “What’s the difference there other than murder? This is not the America I went overseas for. This is not the country I fought for.”

Contact staff writer Greg K. Deal at 864-943-5647 or follow on Twitter @IJDEAL.

COVID-19

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

State health officials reported 740 new confirmed cases and 41 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, along with 27 additional confirmed deaths and 1 new probable death.

Greenwood County recorded a confirmed and a probable COVID-19 death on Wednesday, moving the county's tally of confirmed deaths to 61 and probable deaths to eight.

Thursday night’s opportunity to sip, stroll and soak up history through Wild Hare Production’s Monologue’s on Main Street is likely to be canceled because of projected thunderstorms and heavy rainfall, according to guest artist Keith Jameson.

Greenwood Community Theatre announced Wednesday its cabaret fundraiser is postponed, “due to several health concerns and possible COVID exposures among our cast and crew.”

Plans are moving forward to have a satellite absentee voting precinct open in October for Greenwood County voters.

Help is coming for small businesses in Greenwood County.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Here's the latest information on COVID-19 from health agencies and hospitals: