Anti-mask rally: Kids toss loads of face masks into fire outside Idaho Capitol

Coronavirus

BOISE, ID – MARCH 06: A protester tosses a surgical mask into the fire during a mask burning event at the Idaho Statehouse on March 6, 2021 in Boise, Idaho. Citizens and politicians, including the Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, gathered in at least 20 cities across the state to protest COVID-19 restrictions. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — At least a hundred people gathered at the front of the Idaho Capitol on Saturday to burn masks in a protest against measures taken to limit infections and deaths caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Some groups say mask mandates are a restriction of their freedoms. Health experts say they help slow the spread of the disease.

Videos posted on social media showed adults encouraging children to toss masks into a fire.

Republican Gov. Brad Little has never issued a statewide mask mandate, but seven counties and 11 cities have such mandates in place.

Visitors to the Capitol are asked to wear masks, but they’re not required and few Republican lawmakers wear them. A Republican lawmaker on Wednesday introduced legislation to prohibit mask mandates.

More than 170,000 Idaho residents have been infected with the virus, and nearly 1,900 have died.

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