Global March 20 Anti-Vaccine Protests Promoted by QAnon-Linked Groups

A number of anti-vaccine protests have been planned all across the world this Thursday which appear to be heavily linked to the QAnon movement in all but name.

The "World Wide Rally for Freedom and Democracy" events on March 20 are being widely promoted online, with rallies against coronavirus restrictions and the "tyranny" of the vaccine implementation taking place in countries such as the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan and Germany.

A channel on encrypted messaging service app Telegram promoting the anti-vaccine events across the world currently has more than 35,000 subscribers. There are also dozens of separate "World Wide Demonstration" Telegram channels promoting each planned protest in individual countries.

While the demonstrations are not appearing to be specifically tied to the QAnon, and are also promoted by other anti-vaxx groups, a number of QAnon supporters are pushing the events using language and phrases commonly associated with the conspiracy theorists.

The Twitter hashtag that the rallies are being organized under is "we will ALL be there"—a very similarly worded phrase to the QAnon slogan "Where We Go One We Go All," often abbreviated to WWG1WGA.

In the U.S., one such planned March 20 protest is being advertised as taking place at the Heritage Park in Olympia, Washington.

The link between anti-vaccine beliefs and QAnon is not a new development. Many of the conspiracy theorists frequently push false and even dangerous claims about the vaccine, with misinformation about it turning people homosexual or transgender being shared by influential and popular advocates of the movement in February.

Earlier in March, an internal Facebook study found there was a major overlap between those expressing skepticism about vaccines online and accounts affiliated with QAnon.

For years, QAnon was centered around the belief that Donald Trump was secretly battling a cabal of satanic pedophiles and will one day carry out the prophecy known as "the storm," ordering the mass arrests and executions of child abusers which include leading Democratic figures.

In the past few months, the movement has experienced a number of setbacks which has left certain members disillusioned. These include Trump losing the election then failing to overturn the results because of widespread voter fraud, the deadly attack on the Capitol, and Trump failing to carry out "the storm" at President Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20.

The latest major prediction was that Trump would return as president on March 4, using beliefs heavily lifted from the sovereign citizen movement.

When this failed to transpire, there was a small minority of QAnon supporters who suggested Trump would actually return on March 20.

However, this suggestion was also widely dismissed by some more influential QAnon figures, including who distanced themselves from the March 4 prophecy in the days beforehand.

The distancing from March 4 by popular QAnon advocates arrived amid intense media attention the date attracted and increased security at the Capitol and Washington D.C. with some keen to prevent another public humiliation.

While many QAnon supporters are still highly anticipating Trump's return to the White House, experts believe many will shift their attention to anti-vaxx and coronavirus-related conspiracy theories in the wake of their latest prediction failing to come true.

"Nothing so far has been able sink QAnon, whether it be massive purges by social media companies or the failure of its so-called plan to manifest," Rita Katz, executive director of the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online extremism, told The Washington Post.

"Now, as energy around its election-related conspiracy theories loses momentum, the Q movement has doubled its focus on themes like COVID-19 denialism and vaccine skepticism."

Just like the anti-vaxx movement, QAnon supporters have previously shielded some of their more extreme beliefs with their "Save the Children'' campaigns and hashtags.

The phrase helps attract people unaware about the satanic cannibal aspects of the conspiracy theory, despite the movement being largely ineffective against actual prevention of child sex trafficking and abuse.

Newsweek, in partnership with NewsGuard, is dedicated to providing accurate and verifiable vaccine and health information. With NewsGuard's HealthGuard browser extension, users can verify if a website is a trustworthy source of health information. Visit the Newsweek VaxFacts website to learn more and to download the HealthGuard browser extension.

(File photo) A woman with a QAnon shirt stands with hundreds of people of mixed political views, religions and cultures protest a mandate from the Massachusetts Governor requiring all children,age K-12, to receive an influenza (flu) vaccine/shot to attend school for the 2020/2021 year outside the Massachusetts State House in Boston on August 30, 2020. A number of anti-vaccine protests linked to QAnon have been planned all across the world on March 20. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images

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