Armed protesters descended on a Washington hospital last month when the daughter of a 74-year-old patient called for back up from Ammon Bundy’s anti-government militia network after claiming her mother was being held ‘hostage’ for refusing to take a COVID-19 test.
The Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Vancouver was forced into lockdown on January 29 after protesters – who belong to the People’s Rights group founded by Bundy – gathered outside and demanded staff discharge Gayle Meyer.
Her 49-year-old daughter Satin Meyers, who is a member of People’s Rights, summoned the protesters to help her stage a demonstration outside the hospital, claiming the facility was refusing to let her see her mother.
Authorities say the patient declined to take a COVID-19 test when she was admitted and was placed in a 24-hour quarantine while undergoing treatment. That quarantine meant her daughter, who hospital staff say refused to wear a mask, was not allowed to see her mother.
The call-to-arms is evidence of the group’s aim to create an Uber-like response system that can mobilize militia and demonstrators at any given moment. The group is believed to rely on a text messaging network to get word out of demonstrations and the need to assemble.
Satin Meyers, who is a member of People’s Rights, called on fellow protesters to demonstrate outside the Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington on January 29 to demand they release her 74-year-old mother. Satin is pictured above outside the hospital
After several hours, Gayle Meyers was eventually released from the hospital and dozens of demonstrators cheered as her daughter wheeled her out of the hospital in a wheelchair
In the Washington case, Meyers had called on People’s Rights demonstrators to back her up at the hospital where her mother was being treated.
Police reported that several protesters were ‘carrying firearms and gas masks’ outside the emergency department.
Officers in riot gear stood guard outside the hospital after about 30 to 40 supporters answered the call and mobilized outside to demand Gayle be discharged.
The ordeal was livestreamed on social media as police stopped Meyer and the protesters from entering the hospital.
At one point, Kelli Stewart, who is a People’s Rights coordinator in Vancouver, claimed that phone providers were blocking their text messages from being sent to prevent them from mobilizing. She called for ‘all hands on deck’ outside the hospital.
In calling them to the hospital, Meyer said that Gayle had been admitted a night earlier and refused to have a COVID-19 test.
She claimed the hospital then refused to let her mother out and was holding her ‘hostage’.
‘This is medical kidnapping. They are holding my mother,’ she could be heard saying.
As the protesters gathered, one could be heard screaming: ‘Let Grandma out!’
In calling them to the hospital, Meyer said her mother had been admitted a night earlier and refused to have a COVID-19 test. Authorities have said the patient was placed in a 24-hour quarantine while undergoing treatment
At one point, Meyer tried to squeeze through the doors but was thrown back by the officers inside (above). A male protesters subsequently tried to force his way inside before officers maced him
Officers in riot gear stood guard outside the hospital after about 30 to 40 supporters answered the call and mobilized outside to demand the 74-year-old be discharged
Others yelled for police and hospital staff to ‘show us the law’.
At one point, Meyer tried to squeeze through the doors but was thrown back by the officers inside. A male protesters subsequently tried to force his way inside before officers maced him.
After several hours, Gayle was eventually released and the demonstrators cheered as she was wheeled out of the hospital in her wheelchair.
In the aftermath, police said the patient had refused to have a COVID-19 test on arrival and was placed in a 24-hour quarantine while she was treated.
Her daughter would not wear a mask inside the hospital and was refused access to see her mother in quarantine.
Police said Meyer called 911 to say the hospital was holding her mother against her will.
A responding deputy said he spoke to Meyer’s mother and that she had stated she wanted to remain in the hospital for treatment.
The hospital was placed into lockdown after the protesters started congregating at the entrance of the emergency department.
Police said the patient later told officers she wanted to leave the hospital and she was eventually discharged.
The ordeal was livestreamed on social media as police (pictured inside the hospital) stopped Meyer and the protesters from entering the hospital
Officers in riot gear stood guard outside the hospital as the protest unfolded
The protest outside the hospital is among the demonstrations that have been mobilized by the People’s Rights group in recent months over COVID-19 restrictions.
In October last year, an Idaho high school football game at his son’s school was canceled after Bundy refused to wear a mask or leave school grounds.
His group were responsible for the December protests held outside the homes of Idaho health officials who were voting on mask mandates.
Bundy also led protests outside the home of an Idaho police officer who arrested a mother-of-four for defying stay-at-home orders when she was in a playground in April last year.
Bundy, who says his group has about 50,000 followers in 35 states, has previously urged supporters to train in small militia groups.
He founded the group last March.
Bundy is anti-government and urged his followers to go to Washington DC on January 6 in order to recruit more members. He later condemned the Capitol riots that occurred that day.
He says, however, that he is not a Trump supporter and did not vote for him in the last two elections.
Bundy, who is against COVID-19 restrictions like wearing masks, has criticized Trump for not doing more to keep businesses and churches open throughout the pandemic.
The protest outside the hospital is among the demonstrations that have been mobilized by the People’s Rights group, led by Ammon Bundy (center), in recent months over COVID-19 restrictions
Aamon Bundy is pictured above being arrested by Idaho State troopers at the Idaho State Capital in August last year