D.C. officials alerted businesses Thursday about possible “threats” from pro-life and anti-vaccine protesters who might flout the city’s new vaccination passport mandate this week.
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development emailed the alert to city business owners Thursday morning, citing the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency’s (HSEMA) Business Emergency Management Operations Center.
The alert singled out Friday’s scheduled March for Life rally against abortion on the National Mall and a planned Sunday protest “related to mask and vaccine mandates” near the Lincoln Memorial.
“At this time, HSEMA has not identified any threats to or from this event or other events over the weekend,” the deputy mayor’s office said in the email. “However, please be aware that there are many groups coming in from outside D.C. who may not be aware of or supportive of the District’s new vaccination requirements for certain establishments.”
The email encouraged business owners to “report any imminent threats, emergencies, and criminal activity to 911” and “report suspicious activity” to 202-727-9099, text 50411 or the iWatch D.C. website.
John Falcicchio is the city’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development.
D.C. officials did not respond Thursday to a request for comment.
The District’s new mandate requires people to present proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before entering city-run spaces and public venues including restaurants and hotels.
Organizers of Sunday’s “Defeat the Mandates” protest said unvaccinated protesters have no plans to break the law by demanding entry to local businesses.
“Rally organizers and attendees are gathering peacefully to assemble and stand in solidarity against these mandates,” said Rita Shreffler, director of media relations for Children’s Health Defense. “No other actions are planned.”
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., nephew of President John F. Kennedy, will be the featured speaker at Sunday’s protest. He said any “violent provocations” will come from counterprotesters.
“While coerced submission with experimental medical products is clearly government-sponsored violence, the anti-mandates movement is committed to non-violent resistance,” Mr. Kennedy said. “We understand, as Gandhi taught us, that violence is both immoral and counterproductive.”
Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, said the organizers of Friday’s demonstrations have adjusted their schedule to the vaccine mandate and instructed participants to present proof of vaccination, an exemption or a negative COVID-19 test to local businesses.
“Because the protection of all of those who participate in the annual March, as well as all of those who work tirelessly each year to ensure a safe and peaceful event, is a top priority of the March for Life, we encourage anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to remain at home and participate virtually,” Ms. Mancini said.