The Coronavirus pandemic and state-mandated lockdown orders have lasted about a month, for most Americans. Patience is stretched thin, and tensions are running high as citizens start to rebel against having their freedom withheld. Maybe it’s a result of the number of Coronavirus cases not being as high as previously warned. Perhaps it’s because people feel that local governments have usurped too many of their rights. Cabin fever could be playing a role, also, in the nation’s unrest. Or, possibly, it’s a combination of all those things. But, for whatever reason, the people took to the streets this weekend demanding a lift on at least some of the restrictions placed upon them.
Protestors in Maryland practiced social distancing while making their objections known. They stayed inside their vehicles and honked their horns while driving around the Capitol building in Annapolis, demanding Governor Larry Hogan “Reopen Maryland.”
The organizers of the event asked participants to keep messages respectful, and many flew American flags while others wrote their protest messages on their car windows. In a letter explaining the occasion, planners wrote: “We are petitioning our governor, Larry Hogan, to immediately reopen our state’s business, educational and religious institutions.” While COVID-19 is a serious concern for the public, “the economic, social, and educational disruption caused by shutdowns is guaranteed to cause significant, even greater, harm.”
On Thursday, April 16, thousands of protesters gathered around the state Capitol in Lansing to protest Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s extension of the stay-at-home orders. They demanded from their cars and marched the streets, chanting “lock her up,” in reference to the governor. Many were Trump supporters, and some even attended the event armed.
“Operation Gridlock” was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund. Although they encouraged people to block traffic, they also told them to stay in their vehicles. Many didn’t follow that directive and upset some of the program’s planners. One wrote: “The guys on the steps of the (Capitol) are putting this protest backwards,” while another attendee wrote: “Now we are going to be portrayed as far right extremist. Thanks allot jerks…Stay in your dam car and put the freaking rifles away…You’re going to ruin this for everyone!”
The governor’s mansion was the location for Minnesota’s protest on Friday, April 19, as hundreds gathered in St. Paul for the “Liberate Minnesota” demonstration just outside Governor Tim Walz’s residence. About 400 people honked horns and waved American flags, many wearing Trump 2020 gear. They held signs that said, “We do not consent,” “Stop the Shutdown,” and “Walz is the virus.” Most did not wear masks and GOP candidate for state Senate, Jason Lewis, was in attendance to shake hands and campaign. Organizers of the event claimed their freedom and economic livelihoods are “under full blown attack by a radical anti-American Governor – and we must act quickly if we are going to save them.”
In Columbus, folks drove by the Capitol with signs on their vehicles and honking horns in opposition to the lockdown while others gathered on sidewalks with handheld signage. “Open Ohio we don’t need a nanny,” one sign said. Another read, “Those who give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Many of those in attendance waved flags supporting Trump’s re-election and other paraphernalia that showed their support for the president, as they chanted: “We are not sheep.”
In Austin, TX, people gathered outside the Capitol building on Sat., April 18, in a protest they called “You Can’t Close America,” objecting to the lockdown. Hundreds of citizens stood side-by-side, chanting “Fire Fauci,” referring to infectious desease expert and member of the Coronavirus Task Force, Anthony Fauci.
As with many other rallies across the nation, a lot of the attendees wore MAGA hats and signs that supported President Donald Trump. One woman attended with her 7-year-old daughter. The mother held a sign that read, “Make Texas great again! Please open everything!” while the daughter’s sign said, “Bill Gates can keep his poison – I’m homeschooled! No mandatory vaccines!!”
Washington state currently has a soft reopen date set for March 5 and has some of the strictest stay-at-home orders in the nation. Even fishing, which is an excellent sport for practicing social distancing, is not allowed. On Sat., April 18, about 50 boats and several hundred people gathered around the Columbia Point Marina in Richland, in the southwestern portion of the state. The protesters demanded that restrictions be lifted, especially on recreational fishing and shellfish harvesting.
Sunday afternoon, April 19, an event dubbed “Hazardous Liberty” was scheduled at the state’s Capitol in Olympia. The idea behind the gathering was to protest what they call an unconstitutional order. Late in the afternoon, about 1,000 protesters started gathering.
Other states are planning similar protests, including Pennsylvania and Idaho. On Friday, the president, in a series of tweets, seemed to encourage citizens to protest their state and local governments and demand the easing or removal of restrictions.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.
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