Protesters gather to oppose Knox County mandates

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The group, No mandates Tennessee, is focused on one goal; dissolving the Knox County Board of Health, and ultimately getting rid of all COVID-19 related mandates.

“We want our elected form of representative government back and enough tyranny from one man, from county mayors and from administrative health boards that are not even elected by the people,” said Gary Humble, Executive director of Tennessee Stands.

Since the start of the pandemic, the board of health has been in charge of creating mandates that are supposed to help curb the spread of COVID-19, including mask requirements, curfews and social gathering limitations.

Some people think their power extends too far, which was the reason for Sunday’s protest.

“We feel like our constitutional rights are being slowly eroded away and we need to wake up and take a stand now, before it’s too late,” said Sherri Garrett of No Mandates Tennessee.

But not everyone is looking at these rules as an infringement of rights, some think the war on masks is a danger to the public.

“I think it’s truly, the best way to say would be ignorant. It’s just an egregious lack of just common decency let alone adhering to science and what the doctors and CDC have advised,” said Jonathan Nicolosi with Mask Up Knoxville.

Others say this is deeper than just a few rules. They’re worried about what may come next.

“When people say you know, you’re putting others at risk or other people in harms way, that’s not what this is about. It’s about not having to show my papers or the chip in my arm that says I’ve been vaccinated next before I can go into the grocery store, because medical freedom is really important to me and my family,” said Gail Greene, an attendee of the rally.

This protest was peaceful, but they’re making sure their demands are heard loud and clear. Organizers say they plan to continue to voice their opinions at the next County Commission meeting.

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