A video of nurses being harassed by anti-COVID-19 lockdown protesters has gone viral.
“Fake nurses! Fake nurses! Actors! Fake actors!” protesters could be heard shouting at an Arizona nurse who stood face-to-face with demonstrators in Phoenix on Monday amid a massive protest calling for Gov. Doug Ducey to end lockdown measures.
Lauren Leander, a nurse at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix, and a small group of her colleagues formed a counter-protest in front of the Capitol building, standing silently with their arms crossed with while wearing their medical scrubs and N95 masks, reports Fox News.
“Trump 2020! Trump 2020!” the crowd chanted.
One photograph from the demonstration showed a protester waving an American flag close to Leander’s face.
— CITIZENS for CHANGE™ 🌊 (@cfcpac) April 23, 2020
Other demonstrators without masks could be seen approaching the group of nurses, coming within close proximity of both the health care workers and each other, ignoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines to remain six feet apart.00
— Matree Zia (@MatreeZia) April 23, 2020
“A few of us nurses heard about the rally about 45 minutes before the rally started and we decided that we wanted to have a presence there,” Leander told Fox 10 Phoenix. “We know that in this community of people who are rallying there are still people who believe this virus is not real, they believe it is fake, they thought I was a fake nurse, so I was there in solidarity to tell people this virus is real and it’s still something we need to be sticking together on as a country.”
— INFANTRY COMBAT VET (@John_Kieffer) April 22, 2020
“They were saying a lot of mean and cruel things that I think came from a place of fear,” Leander said, describing the protesters. “Probably the biggest one that I heard over and over again that they thought I was a fake nurse. They thought I was planted there by the government, that I was being paid, that I was an actor, they didn’t think I was real at all.”
“We need to be listening to the experts who haven’t given us the green light to go back to normal yet, and, again I wanted to be a voice for my patients. That’s what I do as a nurse. I see the people in my specific COVID-19 unit and our ICU that are scared and alone and dying,” Leander continued. “I am just here to speak for them because I know if they could have been out on the street with me, they would have and they would have said ‘Guys, stay home. It’s not time yet. It’s not time yet. Please do this for me.’”
“Unethical. Disgusting. You’re a virus,” one woman can be heard shouting at a nurse.
“We’re trying to do the right thing, and we don’t need to get attacked0,” a nurse said in response to the abuse she was subjected to by protesters. “It’s not fair to get attacked.”
“Traitor! Traitor! Spreading disinformation,” one woman screamed at a nurse, while another protester said: “You can’t fix stupid!”