Dollar Races Higher as Markets Brace for Larger, Faster Rate Hikes

Euro, Hong Kong dollar, U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, pound, and Chinese 100 yuan banknotes are seen in this picture illustration on Jan. 21, 2016. (Jason Lee/Illustration/Reuters)
Euro, Hong Kong dollar, U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, pound, and Chinese 100 yuan banknotes are seen in this picture illustration on Jan. 21, 2016. (Jason Lee/Illustration/Reuters)

LONDON—The dollar soared to its highest levels since July 2020 against other major currencies on Thursday, powered by bets the U.S. Federal Reserve could deliver faster and larger interest rate hikes in the months ahead.

A day after the Fed flagged that it was ready to start lifting rates in March to contain inflation, money markets moved to price in as many as five quarter-point increases by year-end.

This backdrop bought dollar bulls out in force—the dollar index, which measures the greenback’s value against other major currencies, rose to 97.120, the highest since July 2020.

The euro slumped 0.75 percent to $1.1156, its lowest since June 2020. The greenback also hit its highest levels in more than a year against the New Zealand dollar, a seven-week peak against Australia’s currency, and rose broadly against emerging market currencies.

The Fed on Wednesday indicated it was likely to raise rates in March, as widely expected, and reaffirmed plans to end its bond purchases that month before significantly reducing its asset holdings.

In a follow-up news conference, Chair Jerome Powell stressed that no decisions had been made, but in response to a question about whether the central bank would consider a 50-basis point hike, he did not rule it out.

U.S. gross domestic product figures later on Thursday are expected to show annual growth at its strongest since 1984.

“While the market had already been priced for hikes, a lot of people were assuming that the Fed might be more sensitive to the equity market, which it wasn’t,” said Jane Foley, head currency strategist at Rabobank. “Also the Fed’s mention the balance sheet has focused markets’ mind on the withdrawal of stimulus.”

Foley added that a shake-out of overly long dollar positions earlier in the month had left the greenback in a position to react to the latest Fed signaling.

Yuan Hit

Rising U.S. Treasury yields provided a further impetus to the dollar’s gains.

After rallying 0.7 percent against the yen on Wednesday in its sharpest rise in more than two months, the dollar firmed a further 0.5 percent to 115.20 yen.

The risk-sensitive Australian dollar fell 0.6 percent to $0.7072, having fallen to as low as $0.7064, while the New Zealand dollar fell to as low as $0.6597, a nearly 15-month trough.

“All in all, we think markets are running away a bit here,” said Elsa Lignos, global head of FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

Sterling fell to a one-month low at $1.3376 and was last down 0.6 percent on the day. Britain’s pound is delicately balanced as traders keep a wary eye on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is under pressure after attending parties during lockdowns, and on next week’s Bank of England meeting.

Elsewhere, China’s yuan took a hit as data showed Chinese industrial profits grew at their slowest pace in more than 18 months, bolstering the case for policy support.

In offshore trade, the yuan was down 0.7 percent against the dollar at 6.3642. It was on track for its biggest one-day fall since last July.

After a battering last week, cryptocurrencies have mostly held their ground in the wake of the Fed’s meeting, with bitcoin last down 0.4 percent at $36,673.

By Dhara Ranasinghe

Reuters

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Oil at Seven-Year High as Ukraine Crisis Overshadows Fed

The sun shines through a crude oil pump jack in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, on Nov 22, 2019. (Angus Mordant/Reuters)
The sun shines through a crude oil pump jack in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, on Nov 22, 2019. (Angus Mordant/Reuters)

LONDON—Oil extended gains to seven-year highs above $90 a barrel on Thursday as the Ukraine crisis outweighed signs that the U.S. Federal Reserve will tighten monetary policy.

Brent crude futures were up 89 cents, or 1 percent, at $90.85 a barrel by 1217 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 87 cents, or 1 percent, at $88.22.

Crude prices had surged on Wednesday, with Brent climbing above $90 a barrel for the first time in seven years amid tensions between Russia and the West. Russia, the world’s second-largest oil producer, and the West have been at loggerheads over Ukraine, fanning fears of disruption of energy supplies to Europe.

Both contracts were lower in early trading after the U.S. Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that it is likely to raise interest rates in March and plans to end its bond purchases that month in its battle to tame inflation.

The U.S. dollar climbed after the announcement, making oil more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

“A more pronounced price slide is being prevented by the Ukraine crisis, as there are still concerns that Russian oil and gas deliveries could be hampered in the event of a military escalation,” Commerzbank said after the morning price dip.

Market attention is also turning to a Feb. 2 meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+.

OPEC+ has raised its output target each month since August by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) as it unwinds record production cuts made in 2020.

However, the group has faced capacity constraints that have prevented some members from producing at their quota levels.

Still, an increase in crude oil and gasoline inventories in the United States alleviated some of the concerns about supply.

Crude inventories rose by 2.4 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday. That compared with expectations of a decline of 728,000 barrels in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Gasoline stockpiles rose by 1.3 million barrels, the most since February 2021.

By Ahmad Ghaddar

Reuters

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Schumer Pledges to Hold ‘Prompt Hearing’ After Breyer Steps Down

Associate Justice Stephen Breyer sits during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington on April 23, 2021. (Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images)
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer sits during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington on April 23, 2021. (Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images)

The top Democrat in the Senate on Wednesday promised to quickly hold a hearing on whomever President Joe Biden nominates to replace Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Breyer reportedly plans to step down in mid-2022 after the nation’s highest court finishes its current term.

Once President Joe Biden nominates a replacement for Breyer, that nominee “will receive a prompt hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and will be considered and confirmed by the full United States Senate with all deliberate speed,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

Sen. d*** Durbin (D-Ill.), who chairs the panel, said Biden has an opportunity with the upcoming vacancy “to nominate someone who will bring diversity, experience, and an evenhanded approach to the administration of justice.”

“I look forward to moving the President’s nominee expeditiously through the Committee,” he said.

Democrats chair all Senate panels because they hold the White House, giving them control of the 50–50 chamber through Vice President Kamala Harris, the president of the body.

Democrats can discharge nominees from the committee and approve them in the full Senate without Republican support, provided there are no defections.

“If all Democrats hang together—which I expect they will—they have the power to replace Justice Breyer in 2022 without one Republican vote in support,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

“Elections have consequences, and that is most evident when it comes to fulfilling vacancies on the Supreme Court,” he added.

Democrats gained two Senate seats in the 2020 election as well as the presidency.

Other Democrat senators said they were prepared to vet Biden’s nominee.

“Justice Breyer has been a champion of equal justice under the law. I’m thankful for his service & his deep understanding of our Constitution & the rights it protects. I’m ready to get to work to confirm a justice who will continue to uphold these core values for all,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said in a statement.

“I look forward to considering POTUS’s nominee and fulfilling my constitutional role to advise and consent on SCOTUS nominees,” added Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

Several Republicans offered praise for Breyer, including Graham and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who said he has “always held him in high regard.”

Biden, who took office in January 2021, has not yet had a Supreme Court nominee.

Former President Donald Trump had three in four years, including Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who filled the seat left vacant with the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Biden and the White House declined to immediately comment on Breyer’s upcoming retirement.

Zachary Stieber

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Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.

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Scientists Who Promoted Natural Origin Narrative Received Over $50 Million From Fauci’s NIAID Since Start of Pandemic | Truth Over News

Four prominent scientists who played key roles in shaping the natural origin virus narrative received more than $50 million from Dr. Anthony Fauci’s NIAID in 2020 and 2021.

The NIAID funding represented a substantial increase when compared to what these scientists had received before their promotion of Fauci’s natural origin narrative.

Some of the funding increases came through an entirely new program. Two of these coveted grants went to scientists who were co-authors of the influential natural origin paper “Proximal Origin.” Both men were on Fauci’s Feb. 1 secret teleconference and privately said a lab leak was likely.

The third grant went to EcoHealth President Peter Daszak—just two months after President Donald Trump ordered Fauci to cancel Daszak’s funding after Daszak’s entanglements with the Wuhan Institute of Virology came to light.

Welcome to Truth over News with Jeff Carlson and Hans Mahncke.

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Russia to Stage ‘Unwelcome’ Live-Fire Naval Drills Off Coast of Ireland

By Jack Phillips January 24, 2022 Updated: January 24, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a forum at the Presidential Executive Office in Moscow, on Nov. 30, 2021. (Mikhail Metzel/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a forum at the Presidential Executive Office in Moscow, on Nov. 30, 2021. (Mikhail Metzel/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia is planning to hold wargames near Ireland’s coast in international waters, which are “not welcome,” said Ireland’s foreign minister on Monday amid heightened tensions near the Russia–Ukraine border.

“This isn’t a time to increase military activity and tension in the context of what’s happening with and in Ukraine,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told reporters.

Coveney said the exercises are slated to take place about 150 miles off the Irish southwest coast within its airspace and exclusive economic zone.

“The fact that they are choosing to do it on the western borders, if you like, of the EU, off the Irish coast, is something that in our view is simply not welcome and not wanted right now, particularly in the coming weeks,” he continued.

Coveney added that Ireland doesn’t have the “power to prevent this happening but certainly I’ve made it clear to the Russian ambassador in Ireland that it’s not welcome.”

The remarks come as Russia has massed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s border, demanding that Ukraine not join NATO. Russia also has denied it is planning an invasion, and it says the Western accusations are merely a cover for NATO’s own planned provocations.

Russia invaded Ukraine once, annexing the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Meanwhile, Russia also backed pro-Russian separatists fighting in the eastern portion of the country known as the Donbas.

NATO on Monday said it may carry out potential troop and ship deployments to Ukraine, Britain said it would withdraw some diplomats from Kyiv, and the U.S. Department of State on Sunday night ordered families of embassy staff in Ukraine to depart the country.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman, Oleg Nikolenko, said the U.S. move on Sunday night was a “premature step,” asserting that Moscow is attempting to spread disinformation to spread panic among Ukrainians and foreigners in a bid to destabilize the country.

NATO will “take all necessary measures to protect and defend all allies,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defense.”

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov blamed the United States and NATO for sword-rattling and fear-mongering.

“All this is happening not because of what we, Russia, are doing. This is happening because of what NATO, the U.S. are doing,” Peskov told reporters, citing what he described as false reports that Russia is allegedly evacuating diplomats from Ukraine. Moscow has denied those claims.

Russian officials told state media RT that two Steregushchiy-class ships of the Russian Baltic Fleet were launched from their port of Baltiysk to partake in exercises in February. The Russian Navy did not specify where they would be sent but said they would go on a “long-distance” trip.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jack Phillips

Breaking News Reporter

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Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.

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UK, Australia, Germany Withdraw Embassy Personnel and Families From Ukraine

Russia Ukraine
A convoy of Russian armored vehicles moves along a highway in Crimea on Jan. 18, 2022. (AP Photo)

The UK and Australia said they have begun withdrawing some embassy personnel from Ukraine, while Germany offered assistance to staff members’ families and some civilians who want to leave.

The precautionary measures come as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that “gloomy” intelligence suggested Russia was planning a lightning raid on Kyiv.

The U.S. State Department has also ordered family members of U.S. government employees at its embassy in Kyiv to leave the Ukrainian capital and authorized the voluntary departure of non-essential civil servants on Sunday night.

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) said on Monday that it has started pulling out some embassy staff and family members in response to the “growing threat from Russia.”

It also advised against all travel to three contested border regions and all but essential travel to the rest of Ukraine.

“The British Embassy remains open and will continue to carry out essential work,” its latest travel advice update said.

Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops on its border with Ukraine. The FCDO said the “pattern of Russian military build-ups near Ukraine’s eastern border and in illegally annexed Crimea” started in late March 2021, and there is “continuing uncertainty about Russian intentions.”

The FCDO advised against all travel to Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast on Ukraine’s eastern border and Russian-annexed-Crimea. It also advised against non-essential travel to the rest of Ukraine, where the situation is now “generally calm,” in case of a fast-moving escalation of events.

Those who need to travel are told to keep their departure plans “under close review” and monitor the situation regularly.

“Renewed military action anywhere in Ukraine would greatly reduce British Embassy Kyiv’s ability to provide consular support,” the FCDO warned.

Australia: ‘Leave Now’

The Australian government has also begun withdrawing dependents of Australian Embassy staff from Kyiv, it said on Monday in a travel advice update.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) told Australian citizens in Ukraine to “leave now” by commercial means if it’s safe to do so, and told others “do not travel” to the country “due to the risk of armed conflict.”

DFAT warned that flight availability could change or be suspended at short notice, and urged Australian citizens in Ukraine to register their whereabouts through a newly opened portal.

German officials on Monday offered help to assist family members of embassy staff and employees of German organizations who wish to leave Ukraine.

“This is a measure we are taking to ensure the safety of the people we are responsible for there,” DW quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Christopher Burger as saying.

The EU’s High Representative Josep Borrell said on Monday that it doesn’t plan to “do the same thing because we don’t know any specific reasons.”

Following the U.S. announcement on Sunday that it was withdrawing embassy staff’s family members, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said the move was “premature and a display of excessive caution.”

The Russian Parliament is due to vote on a proposal by members of Russia’s communist party asking the Kremlin to recognize the independence of the contested Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

If backed by the Kremlin, which has been cautious about the proposal, the move could see an escalation in regional tensions, but Russia would meet with punitive economic sanctions.

United Russia lawmaker Alexander Borodai, former self-proclaimed “prime minister” of Donetsk during the height of the conflict in 2014, voiced support for the proposal. He told Reuters that “a war will become a direct necessity” if the proposal passes.

Meanwhile, Western countries are ramping up support to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, officials from DFAT are in discussion with their Ukrainian counterparts about providing cyber assistance.

NATO is also reinforcing the eastern border region, with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg vowing to “take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies.”

Russia on Sunday dismissed the UK’s claims that Moscow was planning to install a pro-Russia leader in Kyiv, calling it “very dangerous” and “foolish rhetorical provocations.”

Melanie Sun contributed to this report.

Lily Zhou

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Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.

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NATO Places Extra Forces on Standby, Deploys Additional Warships and Jets to Eastern Europe

Two F-35 fighter jets of the Royal Netherlands Air Force are seen in a file photo. (Courtesy of Netherlands Air Force)
Two F-35 fighter jets of the Royal Netherlands Air Force are seen in a file photo. (Courtesy of Netherlands Air Force)

NATO announced on Monday that it’s placing extra forces on standby and sending more warships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe as Russia continues its military build-up near Ukrainian territory.

“I welcome Allies contributing additional forces to NATO,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement on Monday.

“NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the Alliance,” he added. “We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defense.”

The defensive alliance has increased its troops’ presence in the region despite Moscow demanding during high-level talks in Brussels earlier this month that NATO can no longer carry out military exercises or intelligence operations, or build infrastructure outside its 1997 borders, and stops further military expansion and placing missiles on Russia’s borders.

European countries that are part of the latest expansion are Denmark, Spain, France, and the Netherlands. The United States also made clear it is considering increasing its presence on the eastern flank.

Epoch Times Photo
A service member of the Ukrainian armed forces walks at combat positions near the line of separation from Russian-backed rebels near Horlivka in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Jan. 22, 2022. (Anna Kudriavtseva/File Photo/Reuters)

Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and also deploying four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania, NATO said in the statement. Spain is considering sending warplanes to Bulgaria and confirmed it is deploying ships to join NATO’s naval forces, while France also showed combat-readiness to deploy troops to Romania. The Netherlands said it is deploying two F-35 fighter jets to Bulgaria from April, and will also put a ship and ground troops on standby.

Ukraine shares borders with four NATO countries: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.

NATO’s announcement comes one day after the U.S. State Department ordered family members of government employees at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv to leave the Ukrainian capital, and authorized the voluntary departure of non-essential civil servants.

The United Kingdom on Monday also started to withdraw some of its embassy staff and dependents from Kyiv amid growing tensions on the Russia–Ukraine border.

Shares across the world fell as the risk of conflict quashed demand for riskier assets, and tension over Ukraine was among the factors that pushed up oil prices.

Russia denies planning to invade Ukraine but has used its build-up of an estimated 100,000 troops near the border to force the West to negotiate over a range of demands to redraw the security map of Europe.

Russia Ukraine
A convoy of Russian armored vehicles moves along a highway in Crimea, on Jan. 18, 2022. (AP Photo)

It wants NATO to scrap a promise to let Ukraine join one day and to pull back troops and weapons from former Communist countries in eastern Europe that joined it after the Cold War.

Washington says those demands are non-starters but it is ready to discuss other ideas on arms control, missile deployments, and confidence-building measures.

The United States and the European Union, wary of Russia’s intentions since it seized Crimea and backed separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine in 2014, have warned Russia not to invade.

Russia Denounces Concerns Over Increased Military Presence

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said the West is showing “hysteria” and is putting out information “laced with lies.”

“As for specific actions, we see statements by the North Atlantic Alliance about reinforcement, pulling forces and resources to the eastern flank. All this leads to the fact that tensions are growing,” Peskov said.

“This is not happening because of what we, Russia, are doing,” he added. “This is all happening because of what NATO and the U.S. are doing and due to the information they are spreading.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

From NTD News

Lorenz Duchamps

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State Department Orders Family of US Embassy Personnel to Leave Kyiv, Elevates Travel Warning for Ukraine, Russia

United States Department of State official seal
United States Department of State official seal

The U.S. State Department ordered family members of U.S. government employees at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv to leave the Ukrainian capital and authorized the voluntary departure of non-essential civil servants on Sunday night.

“Authorized departure gives these employees the option to depart if they wish; their departure is not required,” the embassy said. “Ordered departure for family members requires that family members leave the country.

“The U.S. Embassy’s departure status will be reviewed in no later than 30 days,” it added.

According to the embassy’s latest update on social media, the State Department’s decision is a special warning “due to continued Russian efforts to destabilize the country and undermine the security of Ukrainian citizens and others visiting or residing in Ukraine.”

It said that the U.S. Embassy Kyiv “remains open” and that consular services according to COVID-19 restrictions will continue without change or impact a “commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to Russia’s deeply troubling build-up of forces in and around Ukraine.

“We continue to reaffirm our support for the Ukrainian people and do so while committed to one of the Department’s highest priorities, the safety and security of our diplomats and the American people,” it said.

The announcement, made out of “an abundance of caution,” comes as the Ukrainian government in Kyiv, with the United States and its NATO allies, continue monitoring activities at the Russian-Ukrainian border amid an apparent impasse in diplomatic efforts to resolve the decades-long regional dispute.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Thursday, following talks with his Russian counterpart, that the United States had made clear it will consider any Russian movement across Ukraine’s border as “a renewed invasion” to be “met with swift, severe, and a united response from the United States and our partners and allies.”

The Russian Parliament is due to vote on a proposal by members of Russia’s communist party asking the Kremlin to recognize the independence of the contested Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine.

If backed by the Kremlin, which has been cautious about the proposal, the move could see an escalation in regional tensions, but Russia would meet with punitive economic sanctions.

United Russia lawmaker Alexander Borodai, former self-proclaimed “prime minister” of Donetsk during the height of the conflict in 2014 and current United Russia lawmaker, voiced support for the proposal. He told Reuters that “a war will become a direct necessity” in the case of the proposal passing.

Blinken told NBC on Sunday that while the United States is “building up deterrence and defense for Ukraine,” diplomats also remain engaged in diplomacy, which is “the preferable path forward for everyone.”

According to the U.S. embassy, given allied intelligence that military action by Russia could come at any time, the Sunday announcement was made to help U.S. citizens make plans in the case of military action, including commercial flight options to leave, as “the United States government will not be in a position to evacuate American citizens in such a contingency.”

It emphasized that “Russia put us on the current path.”

“While the United States continues to pursue the path of dialogue and diplomacy, if Russia chooses escalation and massive consequences due to significant military action against Ukraine, the current unpredictable security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, could deteriorate with little notice,” the embassy warned.

Meanwhile, the state department has elevated its Level Four “Do Not Travel” advisory for Ukraine and Russia to include the regions of Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, citing “security threats along the Ukrainian border.”

On Sunday, Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov confirmed that a second shipment of almost 90 tonnes of “lethal security assistance” from the Biden administration’s $200 million approved in December had arrived in Kyiv to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Melanie Sun

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Melanie is an Australian-based reporter and editor covering world news. She has a background in environmental research.

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‘Defeat the Mandates’: Thousands Protest in Washington Against Vaccine Requirements

By Jack Phillips January 23, 2022 Updated: January 23, 2022

Crowd gathers at Lincoln Memorial for the Defeat the Mandates rally
Protesters gather at Lincoln Memorial for the “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Washington on Jan. 23, 2022. (Lynn Lin/NTD)

Thousands of people turned out in Washington to march in protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates on Jan. 23—one of the largest U.S. events and protests held against the mandates since the start of the pandemic.

Starting at 12:30 p.m. local time, thousands of people marched around the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, with many holding signs decrying COVID-19 regulations, vaccine passports, and mandates. Some criticized the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates.

In recent weeks, U.S. COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed in areas that have high vaccination rates, once again casting a shadow on the effectiveness of the shots, and a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study suggested that natural immunity is superior to vaccines against the Delta variant. Federal officials frequently say that vaccines protect against severe disease and hospitalization.

Crowd gathers at Lincoln Memorial for the
Crowd gathers at Lincoln Memorial for the “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Washington on Jan. 23, 2022. (Lynn Lin/NTD)

Former NBA star Kwame Brown, who has frequently criticized vaccine mandates on social media, told The Epoch Times that he attended because “I think we got to get back to compassion for our fellow man and woman.”

“People are being put out of work” over mandates, he said on Jan. 23 in Washington. “People are not being able to go over to their friends and family’s house. … I think everybody should have a right to choose whether they want to do it … and that’s what America is supposed to be about.”

Protesters gather at Lincoln Memorial for the “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Washington on Jan. 23, 2022. (Lynn Lin/NTD)
Protesters gather at Lincoln Memorial for the “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Washington on Jan. 23, 2022. (Lynn Lin/NTD)

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, who was fired three weeks ago by the University of California–Irvine for challenging the school’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy, similarly told The Epoch Times on Jan. 23: “Americans need to recover our right to assembly and our right to public spaces.

“I think the most important thing about this event is that it is a public event. And it’s an opportunity for all of us to be together in solidarity and love for one another, to speak up against coercive mandates, to let doctors be doctors without other entities coming between a doctor’s own medical judgment and caring for his patient.”

Crowd gathers at Lincoln Memorial for the Defeat the Mandates rally
Protesters gather at Lincoln Memorial for the “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Washington on Jan. 23, 2022. (Lynn Lin/NTD)

Kheriaty, who has become a frequent critic of vaccine passports and mandates, said he hopes this event “will catalyze a movement in the United States.” And while some media outlets have described the march as an “anti-vaccine” event, Kheriaty and march organizers said it’s the mandates, not the vaccines, that they oppose.

One of the march’s organizers told Fox News over the weekend that the rally is important to push back against what he described as increasingly coercive measures that are coming from the White House.

“You’re going to hear a lot of [talk on the left that] this is a big, anti-vax rally, [that] it’s people coming in to deny science,” march organizer Will Witt stated. “But this march is about the mandate, and this march is about the Draconian measures that we’re seeing all across this country right now, especially in places like D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco.”

Jan Jekielek contributed to this report.

Jack Phillips

Breaking News Reporter

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Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.

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