Anti-mask protesters disrupt Connecticut governor's back-to-school event

Anti-mask protesters disrupt Connecticut governor's back-to-school event
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Anti-mask protesters disrupted Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) back-to-school event Wednesday evening, that eventually resulted in him being followed to his vehicle.

Lamont was hosting a back-to-school roundtable Wednesday with education and public health officials about returning to schools safely. All of the attendees at the roundtable, including the governor, were wearing masks.

The meeting largely went on peacefully, according to footage. But things went downhill towards the end of the event, when hecklers began shouting as state health commissioner Deidre Gifford was explaining how close contacts of students who tested positive are determined.

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Jeff Solan, superintendent of Cheshire Public Schools, who was moderating the event, asked the audience to “show a little decorum.”

“If I can ask that we can show a little decorum, please” Sloan said. “We’ll address the audie—- yeah, okay,” Sloan said over the hecklers.

The hecklers then continued shouting, with one saying “speak up, we can’t hear you.”

As Sloan tried to speak over the hecklers, he eventually decided to end the meeting.

Separate footage published by Fox 61 in Connecticut showed the hecklers continuing to scream as the meeting adjourned. That footage showed one person walking out with a sign that said “masks can be harmful to you.” 

The protesters eventually followed Lamont to his vehicle. Footage from News 12 shows demonstrators coming inches away from the governor, even confronting him as he was in his car. 

Max Reiss, a spokesperson for Lamont, told The Hill in a statement "these bullying tactics will not change what we all know to be true and agreed upon by both the scientific and academic communities: Masks work and they help to keep our communities safe, especially young children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.”

Lamont has signed an executive order requiring masks to be worn until at least Sept. 30.

Gifford said what happens after that point depends on what happens with coronavirus infections in the state. She noted that there have been “significant disruptions” in in-person learning areas where masks are not required.