Parents have been filmed encouraging children to burn masks at a protest against coronavirus restrictions outside Idaho’s Capitol in the US this weekend.

About 100 demonstrators gathered outside the Capitol in Boise on Saturday to speak out against measures designed to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The bizarre footage of the protesters, who appeared to be mainly right-wing, went viral on social media, with many users reacting in horror to the scene.

At one point, a member of the group burned a picture of Joe Biden (identified with Donald Trump’s nickname “Sleepy Joe”), while at another, a child could be heard saying: “Here fire, you hungry? Here’s another mask”...

You can find a clip from the protest below:

One of the organisers of the event, identified as Darr Moon, told reporter Sergio Olmos, from Oregon Public Broadcasting, that the demonstrators were trying to “rein back government” during the pandemic.

“I think people need to realise that we’re standing here today to rein back government, to reestablish our republican form of government – a government that has balance between the branches,” Moon said.

“And we’re kind of that belief that we need well-defined government, certain boundaries and that’s not what we have today.”

However, many social media users warned that the protesters’ actions were instead endangering members of the public:

While others were simply shocked by the sheer stupidity of the idea of burning masks during a pandemic:

Although the US has made progress in recent weeks with bringing down Covid-19 cases as it rolls-out vaccines for the disease, health experts fear that there could be another surge in infections if restrictions are lifted too quickly.

Earlier this week, Biden described the decision to lift mask requirements in Texas and Mississippi as “Neanderthal thinking”, adding that removing public health measures at this time was “a big mistake”.

More: The Covid-19 vaccine rollout shows wealth means health in America

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