Chaos erupts in LA mall as anti-maskers storm inside to protest

Chaos erupted inside a Los Angeles mall over the weekend when a group of anti-mask protesters held a demonstration against California‘s strict COVID lockdowns.

The dozen-strong group of protesters were live streaming on social media as they made their way through the Westfield Century Mall on Sunday.

In a number of videos posted to social media, the group are seen embroiled in a series of both verbal and physical altercations, with at least one of the ‘organizers’ being temporarily detained by police.

Trump-supporter Shiva Bagheri, one of the participating anti-maskers, described her fellow protesters as ‘freedom lovers’ in a clip posted to Facebook live.

‘All about control, this has nothing to do with a deadly virus… because a mask does not protect you from a deadly virus,’ Bagheri is heard saying in the clip, before falsely proclaiming that you cannot spread the virus if you are asymptomatic.

Several of the protesters were heard chanting ‘no more masks’ inside the two-level mall on Santa Monica Boulevard. At least one was waiving a sign that read: ‘COVID is a Con-Job’.

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Shiva Bagheri

Shiva Bagheri

The protesters live steamed as they demonstrated in LA's Westfield Century Mall on Sunday

The protesters live steamed as they demonstrated in LA's Westfield Century Mall on Sunday

The protesters live steamed as they demonstrated in LA’s Westfield Century Mall on Sunday. One of the group, Shiva Bagheri, is shown left

Other stunts included a group of male protesters attempting to push through a door of a Steve Madden store

Other stunts included a group of male protesters attempting to push through a door of a Steve Madden store

Other stunts included a group of male protesters attempting to push through a door of a Steve Madden store

Several of the protesters are also seen chanting ‘no more masks’ while storming through a Bloomingdale's store

Several of the protesters are also seen chanting ‘no more masks’ while storming through a Bloomingdale's store

Several of the protesters are also seen chanting ‘no more masks’ while storming through a Bloomingdale’s store

Journalist Samuel Braslow posted a thread of videos to Twitter, documenting the protesters’ several altercations with shoppers, store workers, and law enforcement officials.

In a Ralph’s store next to the mall, a number of the group are seen walking inside the supermarket, ignoring the protests of one customer who repeatedly tells them, ‘you need a mask … you’re going to get sick.’

When the customer tells a male protester he ‘has a mask for him’, the demonstrator, dressed in a red hat, replies: ‘I don’t need a mask, I don’t wear masks.’

The customer is filming the conversation with the demonstrator, who is flanked by a number of others who are also not wearing masks with their cellphones outstretched in front of them.

When the customer, who is wearing a mask, reaffirms to the group ‘you’re all gonna get sick’, several of the protesters scoff at the comment, with one man heard shouting off camera, ‘we’re not going to get sick, this is all a f***ing hoax’.

Demonstrators filmed themselves walking into a Ralph's supermarket without masks and arguing with shoppers

Demonstrators filmed themselves walking into a Ralph's supermarket without masks and arguing with shoppers

One demonstrator is seen above

One demonstrator is seen above

Demonstrators filmed themselves walking into a Ralph’s supermarket without masks and arguing with shoppers

In a number of videos posted to social media, the group are seen embroiled in a series of both verbal and physical altercations

In a number of videos posted to social media, the group are seen embroiled in a series of both verbal and physical altercations

In a number of videos posted to social media, the group are seen embroiled in a series of both verbal and physical altercations

One man is seen above arguing with a shoe store worker who attempted to lock the group out

One man is seen above arguing with a shoe store worker who attempted to lock the group out

One man is seen above arguing with a shoe store worker who attempted to lock the group out

In a statement to DailyMail.com police confirmed no protesters were arrested and said officers were deployed to 'keep the peace'

In a statement to DailyMail.com police confirmed no protesters were arrested and said officers were deployed to 'keep the peace'

In a statement to DailyMail.com police confirmed no protesters were arrested and said officers were deployed to ‘keep the peace’

The demonstration took place inside and around the Westfield Century Mall in Santa Monica

The demonstration took place inside and around the Westfield Century Mall in Santa Monica

The demonstration took place inside and around the Westfield Century Mall in Santa Monica

A second verbal altercation involving a different male protester was captured by reporter Emily Holshouser, showing the man telling an angered shopper he didn’t need a mask because he’d tested negative for COVID-19.

He then called the shopper a ‘mask Nazi’, to which the shopper replied: ‘You’re harassing us with your f***ing germs.’

Elsewhere in the store, a female protester became involved in a physical altercation with a masked male shopper, appearing to attempt to ram him with a shopping cart down a frozen food aisle.

The woman is heard irately screaming ‘really?’ as she charges toward the man. Several other male protesters then descend, calling out ‘why are you hitting a woman, man?’ as he attempts to stop the woman from pushing the cart into his legs. It’s unclear what spurred the incident.

The female protester is heard repeatedly shouting, ‘He just assaulted me! Call the cops,’ as she continues walking toward the shopper, while he attempts to flee.

The group then surround the shopper near the check-out counter, berating him for wearing a mask while repeating the claim he ‘assaulted’ the female protester.

‘He assaulted me!’ the female protester is heard screaming. ‘He hit me in the face’.

The female protester was then later caught on camera kicking the same shopper as he attempted to check-out.

‘Some guy take care of him out there, come on patriots,’ the woman calls out. ‘Someone show him what’s up.’

Trump-supporter Shiva Bagheri, one of the participating anti-maskers, described her fellow protesters as ‘freedom lovers’ in a clip posted to Facebook live.

Trump-supporter Shiva Bagheri, one of the participating anti-maskers, described her fellow protesters as ‘freedom lovers’ in a clip posted to Facebook live.

One of the protesters is seen inside a Bloomingdale's store

One of the protesters is seen inside a Bloomingdale's store

Trump-supporter Shiva Bagheri (left), one of the participating anti-maskers, described her fellow protesters as ‘freedom lovers’ in a clip posted to Facebook live

Bagheri uploaded an image to Facebook showing some of the group enjoying 'indoor dining' at the mall on Sunday

Bagheri uploaded an image to Facebook showing some of the group enjoying 'indoor dining' at the mall on Sunday

Bagheri uploaded an image to Facebook showing some of the group enjoying ‘indoor dining’ at the mall on Sunday

Several of the protesters are also seen chanting ‘no more masks’ while storming through a Bloomingdale’s at the Century City Mall. The LAPD reportedly showed up to the scene eventually but did not attempt to remove the protesters from the premises.

The protesters staged a procession across all three floors of the department store, repeating their chant on ‘no more masks’ and also yelling out ‘f*** communist China.’

One shopper had to be escorted out from the store by a staff member after he became involved in a heated exchange with at least four of the protesters, footage captured by Braslow showed.

Elsewhere in the store, a handful of protesters were also spotting hosting a ‘dance party’ to the Village People’s track ‘YMCA’, with some changing the chorus to ‘M-A-G-A’.

Other stunts included a group of male protesters attempting to push through a door of a Steve Madden store, and shouting at workers of a 85 Degrees café chain that masks ‘are illegal’.

In what Holshouser called ‘one of the more intense moments’, a visibly emotional female shopper attempted to confront the group, telling them: ‘My father is in the hospital with COVID you a**hole.’

A male protester, who had earlier called someone a ‘mask Nazi’, responded: ‘A lot of people are. That’s life. People die. Your father is not special.’

The same male protester was later filmed in an argument with a mall official who had asked the group to leave.

‘In the 40s, would you ask a group of Black people to leave if they were harassed? Trump supporters are oppressed in America today,’ the man states.

A visibly emotional female shopper attempted to confront the group, telling them: ‘My father is in the hospital with COVID you a**hole.’ A male protester responded: ‘A lot of people are. That’s life. People die. Your father is not special’

A visibly emotional female shopper attempted to confront the group, telling them: ‘My father is in the hospital with COVID you a**hole.’ A male protester responded: ‘A lot of people are. That’s life. People die. Your father is not special’

A visibly emotional female shopper attempted to confront the group, telling them: ‘My father is in the hospital with COVID you a**hole.’ A male protester responded: ‘A lot of people are. That’s life. People die. Your father is not special’

The group are seen embroiled in a number of both verbal and physical altercations is videos posted to social media

The group are seen embroiled in a number of both verbal and physical altercations is videos posted to social media

The group are seen embroiled in a number of both verbal and physical altercations is videos posted to social media

At least one of the protesters was detained by police

At least one of the protesters was detained by police

They allegedly fought with a shopper

They allegedly fought with a shopper

At least one of the protesters was detained by police (above) after becoming involved in a fight with a shopper. It’s unclear how many were detained in total

Several of the stores inside the mall locked their doors to prevent the group from entering.

In one instance, one protester, who is white, called a store employee a ‘big dumb white c***’ for locking them out.

Later Sunday, eyewitness Peter De La Chingada tweeted a clip appearing to show what he described as the ‘main disruptor’ of the protest being detained after a physical altercation with a mall shopper.

Circumstances surrounding her detainment are unclear, with other alleged eye witness accounts on social media saying she was later released and returned to the protests.

In a statement to DailyMail.com an LAPD spokesperson confirmed that nobody was arrested, though two battery reports were filed.

When asked why officers didn’t intervene or remove the protesters, the department said: ‘Officers were there to keep the peace and facilitate [the protesters’]First Amendment rights.’ 

In California, people are legally required to wear a mask when outside of their home in the interests of protecting against the spread of the coronavirus.

The state is widely considered to be the new US epicenter of the virus, with positive cases counts, deaths and hospitalizations soaring.

The state Department of Public Health on Sunday reported another 181 deaths and more than 45,350 new confirmed COVID-19 cases across California, bringing the case total to nearly 2.4 million since the pandemic began.

More than 26,530 people have also died from the virus in the state, making it the third to exceed 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, behind New York with nearly 38,000 deaths and Texas with more than 27,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Hospitalizations also rose to 20,600 over the weekend, with 4,500 of those patients currently in intensive care.

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