Demonstrators line Higgins Road during Biden visit
Dozens of demonstrators lined Higgins Road near the entrance to the Elk Grove Technology Park on Thursday to voice their displeasure with President Joe Biden's stance on vaccine mandates during his visit.
They waved flags and held signs proclaiming their political views, from "Illegal Mandates" to "Trump Won," a reference to the oft-repeated but incorrect claim that Donald Trump won reelection last year.
Some of the signs and banners contained obscenities about the president, and occasional chants were vulgar. Some passing motorists honked or shouted, whether in support or opposition. One man played a drum; a few people yelled through megaphones.
When asked why they were demonstrating, protesters expressed fears about democracy and the future of the country.
"We're a country of freedom," said protester Lori Felde of Elk Grove Village. "And they're taking away our freedoms."
Some counterprotesters demonstrated as well.
John Zinkis, 21, of Wheaton stood on a street corner with a small sign saying, "Tax the rich." At one point, he was confronted by two anti-Biden demonstrators, one running from across Higgins Road to yell at Zinkis. A police officer stopped, and the three separated.
"It was pretty intimidating," Zinkis said of the man who had charged at him. "I didn't know what he was going to do."
Protesters initially flanked Higgins Road. But shortly before Biden's arrival, bicycle-riding police officers moved all the protesters to the north side of Higgins.
Sycamore resident Phil Cuthbert joined the protest before Biden's arrival. He said he works at a company in the technology park.
Cuthbert opposes corporate vaccine mandates, saying people shouldn't lose their jobs if they don't get the shot.
"It's not fair," he said.