‘I can’t breathe’ shouts the Arizona councilman before removing his mask at the ‘anti-mask’ rally


In a rally organized by a local city councilor, more than 150 protesters gathered outside the city hall in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Wednesday to protest against the recent masquerade mandates for the city and Maricopa County.


With confirmed Covid-19 cases and associated hospitalizations in Arizona, Republican Governor Doug Ducey gave local communities the authority to require masks last week.

Conservative Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane issued a mask mandate on Thursday.

“I fully recognize the intrusive nature of this directive,” Lane said, but added, “We have a civic responsibility to act and, at times, accept actions that are important to recovery.”

On Saturday, Councilman Guy Phillips posted a flyer on Facebook titled “Unmask Us!” Asking residents to join him on Wednesday to protest the mandatory use of masks.

The flyer requested: “Any AZ citizen who believes that wearing a mask is a personal choice, and not a mandate” to “put on your best face.”

When he first showed up at the Wednesday rally, Councilman Phillips shouted twice: “I can’t breathe” (words spoken by George Floyd and Eric Garner when they died while police were forcibly detaining them), before ripping off the mask. .

Mayor Lane said Forbes On Wednesday night, “Councilman Phillips’ remarks at his mask protest rally today at City Hall do not represent the values ​​of our Scottsdale community. I share the deep disappointment expressed by many residents at the words Mr. Phillips chose: using the phrase “I can’t breathe” during this time was callous and callous. “

Key Background:

3,591 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Arizona on Tuesday, the highest single-day total in the state since the start of the pandemic, according to updated data provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services. The state also hit a new record for hospitalizations on Tuesday, with 86% of inpatient beds and 88% of ICU beds in use. Over the past week, Arizona has had the largest increase in daily confirmed cases per capita in the United States, as the state’s seven-day moving average has increased to 39 cases per 100,000 residents. According to the Washington Post’s tracker, that’s more than double the next highest state, South Carolina, with 19 per 100,000 residents. Although the number of new cases fell slightly on Wednesday, the state reported 79 coronavirus-related deaths, up from 42 deaths on Tuesday. According to the CDC and the vast majority of health experts and scientists, a facial covering has been shown to be effective in limiting the spread of Covid-19.

Main critics:

In addition to Councilor Phillips, Daniel McCarthy, who is challenging Republican Martha McSally for her Senate seat in the upcoming August primaries, he also spoke. According to Central Arizona, McCarthy described the mask city and county mandates as a “communist insurrection.” Journalist Erica Stapelton of local branch News12 tweeted that a protester “suggested that a mask be burned.”


The so-called Spanish flu of 1918 was the most serious pandemic in recent history. According to the CDC, it is estimated that around 500 million people, or a third of the world population, were infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide, with approximately 675,000 in the United States. However, in January 1919, in the midst of this pandemic, a few thousand people gathered in San Francisco to protest against measures to curb the spread of the virus. Many of the protesters at the meeting claimed that the mandates were trampling on their constitutional rights, while others argued that the measures were not working anyway. The group called itself the Anti-Mask League.

Further reading:

More than 150 people attend protests against masks mandates in Scottsdale, Central Arizona

Protest during a pandemic is not new: meet the 1918 Anti-Mask League (Forbes)

Study suggests face masks may be key determinant of Covid-19 curve (Forbes)

Face masks work. Must be required (USA Today)