Maskless protesters gather in downtown Evansville to oppose mask mandate

Protest organizer calls requirement to wear face mask 'unconstitutional'
Maskless protesters gather in downtown Evansville to oppose mask mandate
Updated: Jul. 26, 2020 at 11:12 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - More than a dozen people gathered at the Civic Center to protest mask requirements, claiming the mandates go against their constitutional rights.

“What we’re doing here today, we’re having a maskless protest against the Governor and Mayor Winnecke and the city council,” protest organizer Gabe Whitley said.

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke reissued a mandate Tuesday requiring masks in public.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a similar mandate Friday effective until August 27.

“This is a government overreach, and they’re trying to use this virus and this flu as a power grab, and we’re not going to sit here and take that and that’s one of the things - that’s why we’re out here protesting,” Whitley said.

Protesters took turns going up to the microphone - each emphasizing that they feel the mask requirements are unconstitutional.

“So I’m here in support of freedom of choice,” protester Randy Kemp said. “If you want to wear a mask, that’s fine. If you don’t, you shouldn’t be fined or be charged a misdemeanor.”

Despite a rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state, one speaker encouraged the group to resist following these orders, stating that masks “do not work.”

“Freedom - we need to make our own choices,” protester Irene Scheffler said. “If people get a choice between life and abortion, we should get a choice between mask or no.”

The organizer tells 14 News that he and others at Sunday’s protest plan to attend a larger protest in Indianapolis, scheduled for August 8.

Gov. Holcomb’s mask ordinance will be in effect until August 27.

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