Protesters gather in Scottsdale to oppose city’s mask mandate

Jun 24, 2020, 1:00 PM | Updated: 7:18 pm

(Twitter Photo/@lukeforstner)...

(Twitter Photo/@lukeforstner)

(Twitter Photo/@lukeforstner)

PHOENIX – Protesters gathered at Scottsdale City Hall Wednesday to fight against the city’s face covering mandate.

Scottsdale Councilman Guy Phillips organized the protest in response to the city’s mask mandate instituted last week.

Phillips wore a face covering when he took the stage but following cries from the crowd to take the mask off and to “set a good example,” he did so after saying, “I can’t breathe.”

Gov. Doug Ducey denounced Phillips’ usage of the phrase, especially as protests against police brutality have become commonplace across the country.

“Just flat out wrong. Despicable doesn’t go far enough,” Ducey said in a tweet. “The final words of George Floyd should NEVER be invoked like this. Anyone who mocks the murder of a fellow human has no place in public office. Period.”

Mayor Jim Lane also objected to usage of the phrase.

Lane called on Phillips to apologize for his actions.

“I share the profound disappointment expressed by many residents at the words Mr. Phillips chose to use,” Lane said in a tweet. “The phrase “I can’t breathe” during this moment in time was callous and insensitive.”

Phillips said mask mandates hurt businesses and that people have to rely on themselves instead of the government.

Phillips called for more education over regulation from the government when it came to face coverings. He said he’ll be working with the city and businesses in Scottsdale to provide education about coronavirus prevention.

“I’d happily wear a mask out of respect for my fellow citizen, but when government threatens me with a fine or a possible arrest if I don’t conform, then I protest,” Phillips said.

Gov. Doug Ducey gave local leaders the power last week to decide whether they would institute mask mandates.

Lane issued an emergency proclamation last week to require face coverings in public places.

Even if Scottsdale hadn’t instituted a face mask policy, the city would still be subject to similar requirements adopted by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors last week.

“I understand the resistance that many have to the loss of your personal freedom to choose how you respond and react during this health crisis,” Lane said in a press release Thursday. “In this emergency, however, like any other, we have a civic responsibility to act and sometimes accept actions that are important for recovery.”

The mandate went into effect Friday, which requires face covering for anyone age 6 or older.

On Wednesday, Arizona reported 1,795 new coronavirus cases, pushing the state’s total to 59,974.

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Protesters gather in Scottsdale to oppose city’s mask mandate