Protesters defying mask mandates and COVID-19 protocols took over the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday, screaming at shoppers and attacking others.

The group shared dozens of photos and videos of their attacks on Facebook and Twitter, all while the Los Angeles Police Department largely stood by and watched. 

A thread of videos showing the protesters attacking shoppers drew widespread outrage and concern online as millions watched the group parade through the mall causing chaos, all in the name of thumbing their nose at efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Los Angeles is currently the epicenter of one of the nation's most brutal outbreaks of COVID-19. The situation in L.A. County is so bad that hospitals have told ambulances not to bring in anyone who they think is likely to die and has instructed crews to use less oxygen, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

In advance of an expected surge of COVID-19 infections from the Christmas and New Year holidays, hospitals in the area have begun to release ill patients in the hopes of freeing up ICU space, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Yet the dire situation in the city did not stop a group of protesters from defying coronavirus safety measures on Sunday. 

The protesters moved from store to store, shouting at those with masks on and yelling at store workers who asked the protesters to put masks on. Some stores were forced to lock their doors as the protesters nearly broke their way into establishments. 

One protester hit a shopper with her cart, while others damaged property and got into shouting matches with people walking by. 

Many people online were outraged that the LAPD did nothing to stop the protesters and stood by while they caused general chaos and mayhem.

LAPD spokeswoman Officer Rosario Cervantes told the Los Angeles Times that officers intentionally did not step in order to "keep the peace." 

Despite the violence, no one was arrested.

"We were there to keep the peace and they were there to facilitate their First Amendment rights," Cervantes later told BuzzFeed News.

Dozens of people noted that police showed little restraint when it came to Black Lives Matter protesters this summer whenever they got anywhere near a store or retail establishment. 

The same day of the protest, Los Angeles County released the latest COVID figures, showing that there were 12,488 new cases that day, 91 new deaths and 7,544 new hospitalizations, according to local news outlet ABC7.

L.A. County now averages about 14,000 new cases per day, according to the Los Angeles Times. More than 26,000 people have died from COVID-19 in California since last year.