LOS ANGELES - California officials decried anti-vaccination protesters who forced the temporary shutdown of the inoculation center at Dodger Stadium, stalling hundreds of motorists who had been waiting in line for hours.
The Los Angeles Fire Department shut the entrance to the stadium as a precaution at about 2 p.m. Saturday after it was blocked by a few dozen demonstrators, officials told the Los Angeles Times.
The protest included members of anti-vaccine and far-right groups, the Times reported. Some of the marchers carried signs denouncing the COVID-19 vaccine and shouted for people not to get the shots.
"These extremists tried to deny other people their choice to get the vaccine and they want to take away our freedom from this terrible pandemic," Democratic state Senator Richard Pan, who’s also a pediatrician, said in a statement Sunday. "The fact that over 430,000 Americans have died of COVID is not enough for them as they oppose every effort to slow the disease: masks, testing, physical distancing and vaccines."
A protest organized by Shop Mask Free Los Angeles rally against COVID vaccine, masks and lockdowns at the vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
The vaccination center, one of the nation’s largest, reopened shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday, the Times reported. The site is usually open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. It was closed as usual on Sunday.
Despite the 55-minute interruption, no appointments were canceled, said Andrea Garcia, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
"We remain committed to vaccinating Angelenos as quickly and safely as possible," Garcia said.
No arrests were made, police said.
"This is completely wrong," said German Jaquez, who had been waiting for an hour for his vaccination when the stadium’s gates were closed Saturday. He said some of the protesters were telling people in line that the coronavirus is not real and that the vaccine is dangerous.
"Unbelievable," Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez said on Twitter. "If you don’t want the vaccine fine, but there are millions of Angelenos that do. 16,000 of your neighbors have died, so get out of the way."
After the site reopened, Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted: "We will not be deterred or threatened. Dodger Stadium is back up and running."
A post on social media described the demonstration as the "SCAMDEMIC PROTEST/MARCH." It advised participants to "please refrain from wearing Trump/MAGA attire as we want our statement to resonate with the sheeple. No flags but informational signs only."
The post said: "This is a sharing information protest and march against everything COVID, Vaccine, PCR Tests, Lockdowns, Masks, Fauci, Gates, Newsom, China, digital tracking, etc."