Mask gathering - Albuquerque Journal

Mask gathering

A protest for freedom drew hundreds to Civic Plaza on Thursday. Many, like this man from Rio Rancho, were there to protest the governor’s mandate requiring face coverings. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Angel Rodriguez and Mario Rico were one of the few couples at a “Protest for Freedom” on Civic Plaza with masks.

Although, on closer inspection, their masks were just painted on.

“We feel our mask is as good as your mask,” Rodriguez said.

Hundreds of people crowded together in Downtown Albuquerque on Thursday evening to listen to speeches and to curse public health orders that have closed or restricted businesses and schools in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. The gathering itself was an apparent violation of those health orders, namely the ones that prohibit large gatherings and require people wear masks in public places.

Rodriguez, an artist and owner of The Head’s Creation, said her career has suffered during the pandemic. She does body paintings for events, which there are none. And struggling galleries have stopped buying her other pieces, she said.

“It’s about choices. It’s about freedom,” she said when asked why she was at the protest.

The demonstration appears to have been organized through a Facebook group calling itself “We the people of New Mexico.” Several organizers left shortly after the protest and others declined to comment.

The event’s Facebook page promised that parents, business owners and medical professionals would be among the speakers. No medical professionals spoke. But Louie Sanchez, owner of Caliber’s gun shop, donned a pair of scrubs and said he “plays a doctor on the radio” while delivering a speech that targeted Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for her public health orders.

“We have the right to bear arms. Our children have the right to go to school,” he said.

Other speakers included Steve Smothermon, pastor of Legacy Church, state Sen. Greg Baca and Couy Griffin, an Otero County commissioner and founder of Cowboys for Trump.

In the crowd, many people waved American flags, and held up pro-Trump signs and other messages decrying liberals.

Uniformed APD officers mingled around the perimeter of the demonstration in masks. It didn’t appear that they attempted to enforce public health orders. Gilbert Gallegos, a police spokesman, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The governor’s office also didn’t respond to a request for comment.

About a dozen counterprotesters also attended the protest for freedom. Pictured are two protest attendees arguing over the use of masks.

Home » News » Albuquerque News » Mask gathering

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
Ready for Rihanna? A look at five songs that ...
ABQnews Seeker
Journal Staff WriterI am not sure ... Journal Staff WriterI am not sure if you have heard, but there is a football game this ...
2
Valentine's Day in Albuquerque: Lovers, friends and lonely hearts ...
ABQnews Seeker
There are plenty of fun options ... There are plenty of fun options for everyone to celebrate on or around the occasion
3
7 activities around the state to love this Valentine's ...
ABQnews Seeker
This weekend leads into Valentine's Day, ... This weekend leads into Valentine's Day, a holiday commonly associated with amor. Here are some activities to help you spend time with those you ...
4
Senate decisively approves bill funding NM wildfire recovery efforts. ...
ABQnews Seeker
While New Mexico waits for federal ... While New Mexico waits for federal disaster relief funds to arrive, a bill that would allow public repair work in the burn scar of ...
5
Magician Jordan Jonas brings card tricks, mind reading and ...
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque magician Jordan Jonas brings his ... Albuquerque magician Jordan Jonas brings his creepy brand of psychic ability, sideshow stunts and storytelling into a haunted evening at Fusion at 7 p.m. ...
6
Senate Bill 12 aims to expand film incentive package
ABQnews Seeker
A proposed bill will help continue ... A proposed bill will help continue growth of state film jobs and workforce training. On Wednesday, Senate Bill 12 was introduced by Sen. Nancy ...
7
7 gun laws proposed in New Mexico
ABQnews Seeker
Gun control legislation is a priority ... Gun control legislation is a priority this year; here’s a round-up of what proposed laws would do, and where they’re at in the process.
8
Walmart shooting suspect pleads guilty to federal charges
ABQnews Seeker
EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- A ... EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- A Texas man pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges accusing him of killing nearly two dozen people in a ...
9
Man found slain at home in Northwest Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
A man was found dead inside ... A man was found dead inside a home Wednesday afternoon in Northwest Albuquerque. Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque police spokesman, said officer responded just after ...