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Protest of mask, vaccine rules draws hundreds to Vegas Strip

October 4, 2021 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A weekend protest of coronavirus vaccine and mask mandates drew several hundred people to the Las Vegas Strip, where marchers with signs and T-shirts declaring “freedom of choice” wound along sidewalks and into some resorts.

One man was arrested and two people were issued citations, Las Vegas police Officer Larry Hadfield said Monday, one on a disorderly conduct charge and one accused of misdemeanor battery.

The man who was arrested on misdemeanor obstruction and resisting a police officer charges was released without bond pending a Dec. 2 court appearance, according to jail and court records.

No damage or injuries were reported.

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The Sunday evening demonstration was against mask and vaccine mandates that Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak enacted in the fight to stem the spread of COVID-19 and its more contagious delta variant.

Sisolak reimposed mask requirements July 30 for most indoor spaces and last month ordered mandatory vaccinations for state employees including those working with at-risk populations in state-operated detention and health care facilities.

Employees at all Nevada public universities and colleges are required to get COVID-19 vaccinations by Dec. 1 or face dismissal under a new policy adopted by the state System of Higher Education.

Brock Abbe, who moved to Las Vegas from New York in January, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday he didn’t think anyone should lose their job based on their vaccine status.

Review-Journal photos showed peaceful demonstrators on sidewalks, in the Bellagio resort and at the Miracle Mile Shops retail mall at Planet Hollywood.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, opening the way for universities, companies and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory.

Moderna has also applied to the FDA for full approval of its vaccine. Johnson & Johnson, maker of the third vaccine in the U.S., said it hopes to apply to the FDA later this year.

Drugmaker Merck said Friday it has developed an experimental pill that reduces hospitalizations and deaths of people who contract COVID-19.