Utah protest against ‘medical tyranny’ includes burning a giant effigy of a vaccine syringe

Utah Business Revival founder Eric Moutsos said in a video of the event that people “didn’t really care” about vaccines before the pandemic.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Business Revival organizer and former Salt Lake City police officer Eric Moutsos, left, introduces Greg Hughes, running for Governor of Utah, during a rally in support of police at City Hall in Salt Lake City on Saturday, June 20, 2020.

A cheering Utah crowd burned an effigy of a giant vaccine syringe in Moroni, according to a May 1 video posted on YouTube.

The 10-minute video was recorded by Eric Moutsos, founder of Utah Business Revival. The group has sponsored protests against pandemic-related health measures, including one at the Utah Capitol where children tore apart a large paper mask, and one at Salt Lake City Hall where hundreds of people gathered in violation of a county order.

The video begins with Moutsos facing the camera and saying he is in Moroni as people cheer and laugh in the background. He said people didn’t care about vaccines before the pandemic before trailing off to point out the burning syringe, labeled “medical tyranny.”

The state health department has reported 2,219 COVID-19 deaths in Utah since the pandemic began. Deaths have fallen since vaccinations began this winter. Over two million vaccines have been distributed in Utah so far, and nearly one million residents are fully vaccinated.

“When government and mainstream media and every single powerful ... celebrities, every person on TV, actors,” Moutsos said in his video before trailing off and continuing, “... this is a giant needle.” He panned to the effigy, which appeared to be made of wood or cardboard. The syringe burned as people cheered and music played.

Moutsos said the event was a “night of liberty” and that hundreds of people attended. He said it is wrong to keep people in fear all the time. In the description of the video on YouTube, Moutsos wrote that the syringe represented a “false god.”

Another man wearing an “I make awesome babies shirt” came up to Moutsos as he was streaming the video and sarcastically said the bonfire was bad for the environment.

“It’s causing global warming, this is like 10 dead polar bears right there,” the man says and laughs.

Correction • May 6, 9:20 p.m.: This story has been updated to correct a mischaracterization about an assignment request that Eric Moutsos made when he formerly worked as a Salt Lake City police officer.