They carried signs about the right to say “no” and freedom from fear.

They were angry and frustrated and happy to vent it.

They turned out on a sunny, chill Sunday—some with babies, others with flags—for the Defeat the Mandates march in Washington, D.C.

Thousands of people—estimates varied—walked peacefully along the reflecting pool from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, where ostensibly they came to listen. But by their presence, and their evident outrage, they perhaps also told America what it needs to hear.

There is another way to think about how to overcome covid-19. It is not just about a vaccine, in particular one forced by government dictates. And it is time for regular folks to tune in and turn out.

“Bravery, not obedience,” said one sign carried by a blonde youngster, hoisted on her father’s shoulders. “Recognize Natural Immunity,” said a sign held by a woman in sunglasses. “I’m not anti-vax. I’m pro-freedom,” said another.

The signs were mirror images of the message delivered by a who’s who of doctors, scientists, and eminent activists, from Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of the foundational vaccine technology, to Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a legendary activist and author of a scathing book on the government’s pandemic missteps.

These experts, too, said “Enough!” to the anti-treatment, vaccine-only management of covid by government, medicine, and media. They shouted it; they spoke like ministers at the pulpit; they savaged a pandemic response that lacked compassion and, they said, did more harm than good.

“The vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths that occurred in this country could have been prevented,” said Dr. Peter McCullough, a cardiologist and highly published researcher. “We never had a full-throated endorsement from our government agencies—the CDC, the NIH, and the FDA, nor the White House Task Force. Not once…In fact, we heard the opposite through a series of statements, a series of actions. There was effectively a chill put on early treatment.”

Instead, the government focused solely on behavioral controls—like masking, distancing, and lockdowns—and on vaccines. “Not a single person here is against the broad use of vaccines….But when the vaccines were in development, we knew it was a gamble. It was,” he added, referring to the injections’ risks and benefits,” a gamble of a lifetime, if not a gamble for all time for humanity.”

“We have known for two years that there are cheap, safe, highly effective, and widely available medicines that can treat this disease,” said Dr. Pierre Kory, a leading early-treatment proponent, in an emotional and angry speech. “That information has been suppressed. We are in a war of information…People are dying. They are killing us with censorship and propaganda.”

Testament, perhaps, to that censorship was the turnout of perhaps 20,000 to, by organizers’ estimates, 50,000. The Women’s March on Washington relied heavily on Facebook to draw, officially, nearly a half-million people in 2017, making it the largest protest in U.S. history when combined with others nationwide. But the platform now heavily censors messages, like the march, that promote so-called “vaccine hesitancy.” (Twitter was more accommodating, for the record.)

In the same vein, ideas that challenge prevailing covid dogma are marginalized. Two days before the march, a lengthy Yahoo News article referred to fears by federal law-enforcement officials of “potential violence and extremist activity,” referring four times to “far-right” groups.

The Defeat the Mandates website had billed the march as all-inclusive: “Americans of every class and color. Democrats and Republicans. Vaccinated and unvaccinated.” Politics was largely avoided by speakers, though anti-Biden signs were sprinkled throughout the audience.

Dr. Ben Marble, founder of, said the turnout was “relatively good. But there should have been a million people there.”

The march is the first major protest against covid policy in the United States, even as others have been held in France, Germany, England, and Australia. It comes as the Omicron variant is redefining covid as a mild illness in a wave that will pass quickly. Several speakers referred to the looming potential for an end to the pandemic.

Dr. Malone was warmly embraced by the crowd, having fearlessly and harshly criticized how the technology he developed has been used:

“We should not have politicized the public health response to SARS-CoV-2 and covid-19,” he said, after urging the crowd to embrace integrity, dignity, and—what binds us—community.

Regarding the genetic covid vaccines, the science is settled. They are not working, and they are not completely safe. Now we have Omicron. These vaccines were designed for the Original Wuhan strain, a different virus…These vaccines do not prevent Omicron infection, viral replication, or spread to others. In our daily lives, with our friends, with our families, we all know that this is true.”

The peaceful protest brought together a remarkable mix of Americans—and speakers—of various races, faiths, ages, sexes, and outlooks, as Kennedy noted in a firebrand speech.

A forest of signs, flags, and banners showed the extraordinary mix of political and religious affiliations and speakers at the rally: conservative, libertarian, liberal, Protestant, Jewish, and black Muslims. The unifying fear of a lawless government and medical tyranny transcended all political and demographic boundaries.

In the crowd, “Don’t Tread On Me Flags” fluttered next to “Coercion is Not Consent” signs. A young woman with long dark hair was dressed all in blue and posing as the Statue of Liberty holding a blue torch and looking boldly to the horizon as videographers and photographers snapped her picture with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. “Let’s Go Brandon” T-shirts and hats were everywhere. In a single glance one could see an American flag flying on a handheld pole with an anti-socialism flag below it—the word “socialism” crossed out with a red line; “Don’t Tread on Florida;” “Government is Waging War Against the People,” and “Liberty Requires JESUS, James 1:25.”

Dr. Robert Malone, Steve Kirsch, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other speakers told the Defeat the Mandate demonstrators they must take American freedom back to make a world for their children. (Photo by Teresa Banik Capuzzo)

“Look around you,” said Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, the University of California Irvine professor of medicine and head of the department of ethics who was fired from the only job he’d never known in medicine because he stood up for the most important ethic in medicine: consent to treatment. Dr. Kheriaty didn’t consent to a vaccine, and lost his job like so many medical workers and Americans of all professions.

“But look around you,” he said “You’re not alone.” It was evident from the applause and cheering for one speaker after another that the thousands of people gathered before one of the nation’s most sacred monuments to freedom were truly afraid of losing that freedom for the first time in their lives. The government, media, and big pharma campaign of unconstitutional lockdowns and non-stop propaganda has prevented known, proven early treatments and prophylaxis for covid, shattered the doctor-patient relationship like at no time in U.S. history, turned hospitals against their patients and pharmacists against customers and doctors, organizers said. These are issues for everybody, they said.

Dr. Kheriaty urged them to stay strong and work together to stand up for freedom. He warned the crowd that the worst tyrants of modern history, including Germany in the 1930s, introduced totalitarianism by inciting fear and promising salvation from it.

Dr. Paul Marik described how the government and hospitals were lawlessly controlling doctors and preventing covid treatments on a wide scale without precedent. He also briefly told his personal story, bringing tears from some in the crowd.

The most published critical care doctor in the United States, a renowned professor for decades at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, had led with his colleagues the development of the finest hospital treatments for sick covid patients, including steroids and ivermectin, that are widely used or became the basis of the world standard of care. He and Dr. Peter McCullough and a handful of others have saved countless thousands of the covid sick by developing peer-reviewed treatment used globally and saved thousands of patients themselves. Yet Marik was banned from using these lifesaving, FDA-approved, generic treatments by his hospital and forced to watch patients die he knows he could have saved. Marik urged the crowd to feel how “heart-breaking” this was for him. The doctor, in his early sixties and perhaps the finest ICU covid physician in the world, whose treatments helped heal President Trump, Joe Rogan, and numerous members of the U.S. Congress, now struggles to find a way to continue to be a healer. “Let doctors be doctors!” Marik said, words echoed on signs in the crowd.

Dr. Kory, a renowned pulmonologist who has lost three jobs because he garnered so much media attention for his appearances before the U.S. Senate advocating for proven treatments like steroids and ivermectin, gave one of the most passionate speeches. His theme: that big pharma had “captured” all our health agencies, who were waging a war Americans must win—a big pharma war against generic or repurposed drugs that was killing thousands of Americans.

Steve Kirsch, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur and tech inventor, an engineer with two degrees from MIT, and founder of the Vaccine Safety Research Foundation, was the main sponsor of the rally. After three relatives of a friend died right after being vaccinated, he started studying clinical trials and government data and talking to doctors. He told the crowd:

“What the data said was troubling. Very troubling.

First of all, this entire pandemic was completely avoidable. We had an early treatment protocol in March of 2020 developed by George Fareed and Brian Tyson. Nobody dies on their protocol if they get treated early. Zero. And only a few people got hospitalized. Yet today, the NIH is saying nothing about this protocol.

We don’t need masks, we don’t need vaccines, we don’t need mandates, and we don’t need lockdowns. We never did. What we need to do is to start listening to the doctors who have treated thousands of COVID cases with no deaths.

Is that too much to ask?”

Kennedy gave a passionate speech and received perhaps the most thunderous applause. Dressed in a long dark overcoat and tie and punching the air with his fingers, it was hard not to see the family similarities in passion and speaking style to his late father and uncle. His speech was a political barn-burner to rouse a crowd—combined with the precise, lawyerly indictment of the establishment’s failed management of the pandemic that he laid out in his bestseller book, The Real Dr. Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health.

Kennedy said the Pfizer vaccines were revealed as deadly even in the pharmaceutical company’s trials that led to FDA emergency approval. Pfizer’s own trials showed that people who received their experimental mRNA vaccine were 21 percent more likely to die from all causes than the placebo group that did not get the jab. The deaths were from vaccine-triggered heart attacks, he said, an elevated risk that is being born out in more than 11,000 vaccine-caused heart attacks reported by doctors and others in the U.S. government’s vaccine adverse-event reporting system.

But only one person in the vaccinated group died from covid versus two people in the placebo g