Anti-vaxxers bullied families walking to school in Beverly Hills Wednesday, which happened to be National Walk to School Day. One woman in particular, Shiva Bagheri, is seen on camera (below) telling a mom that masks are propaganda and that her son "is going to be traumatized" for wearing one.
But it looked like the kid was traumatized by the protestor instead, covering his ears and ending up in his mother's arms. His mother defends her freedom to wear a mask, saying, "It's my choice. You better respect my choice."
Bagheri later shouted, "This is rape. They're trying to rape our children with this poison. They're going to rape their lives away."
Beverly Hills Mayor Robert Wunderlich stepped in to diffuse the tension, asking that they pick three protestors to talk about this with him, away from the school later in the day. But Bagheri was having too much fun being angry to quit. "You don't care about the kids!" she says, trying to keep it going. To which the mayor calmly held his ground, until the protestors simmered down and agreed to meet with him later (video below).
Disinformation researchers believe that groups like Bagheri's are beginning to mimic the actions of other extremist groups.
"Some small, hateful anti-vaxx groups, like this one in LA, are starting to look a lot like the Westboro Baptist Church," John Scott Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity watchdog organization at the University of Toronto, tweeted.
Another disturbing aspect of the protest is that it was promoted by a group of Beverly Hills firefighters who themselves are protesting a vaccine mandate. At a Tuesday protest in support of firefighters who have refused to get vaccinated, one speaker urged those in attendance to also protest at the National Walk To School event the following day.
"They think it's gonna be a fun and safe photo opportunity with parents and kids," David Hakimfar, a West Hollywood attorney and anti-vaccine activist said at the protest Tuesday. "Let's show up here and show them it's not. Let's show them how we really feel. Let's make them afraid."
Reporter Samuel Braslow (@SamBraslow) posted the following videos on Twitter: