A protest in Idaho is being called “disturbing” online after footage showed young children burning face masks.
Held by more than 100 people outside of Idaho’s Capitol in Boise on Saturday, the demonstration was aimed at pushing back on policies stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Idaho State Police, according to NBC News, informed the group prior to the event that open flames were not allowed on Capitol grounds.
Despite the officer’s warnings, the group ultimately brought out a steel drum to be used for the mask-burning demonstration.
“During the event, an open flame was ignited in a barrel,” a statement from the police said. “Those involved with the event were informed both before and during the event that open flames are not allowed on State Capitol grounds.”
Throughout the video, adults can be seen encouraging the children to toss their masks into the open flame.
“Destroy them!” the kids can be heard chanting at one point.
Ironically, Idaho does not currently have a state-wide mask mandate, although some cities and counties do require them.
The protest, which ended without any arrests, was widely criticized across social media.
“It’s a privilege to feel like you are being oppressed because you are asked to wear a mask,” Torrey Smith wrote.
Others pointed to coronavirus statistics in Idaho to denounce the protest.
“Yesterday, 24.9% of those who tested for COVID in Idaho, tested positive,” Michael Skolnik said. “The highest rate in the country.”
But many other users online, particularly conservatives, celebrated the imagery as some sort of triumph over tyranny.
“I love the smell of masks burning in the morning!!” @SWFLPatriot said. “It smells like FREEDOM.”
The protest was just one of nearly 20 held across the state over the weekend, several of which reportedly included a mask-burning demonstration.
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