'Medical freedom' crowd gathers at Riverfront Park to protest coronavirus mandates

<p><p>Some 4,000 protesters gathered Saturday at Riverfront Park to advocate for “medical freedom” in the face of coronavirus mandates before marching through downtown Spokane. </p></p><p><p>Most were not wearing masks. </p></p><p><!–[photo id=741525]–></p><p><p>Organizers billed the event as a “Rally for Medical Freedom” that would feature Rep. Jenny Graham and former Rep. Matt Shea. Dr. Ryan Cole, a controversial pathologist who made headlines for calling coronavirus vaccine mandates “needle rape” and who recently was appointed to Idaho’s Central District Health Board, is also expected to attend. </p></p><p><p>Posts advertising the event online touted it as a “family-friendly rally celebrating faith, family, and freedom.” </p></p><p><!–[photo id=741511]–></p><p><p>Speakers were scheduled for 10 a.m., while a march was set to start at noon. Video from KREM’s Morgan Trau shows Shea opening his remarks by screaming “Freedom!” into a microphone, then asking the crowd, “How many of you believe that?”</p></p><p><!–[photo id=741518]–></p><p><p>Protesters, many carrying signs and American flags, then began to march. </p></p><p><p>The rally comes just a day after a heated protest against the Coeur d’Alene School District forced the cancellation of a district meeting on a mask mandate. </p></p><p><!–[photo id=741524]–></p>