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Thousands Descend on Michigan Capitol To Protest Stay-at-Home Order

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Thousands of protesters descended on Michigan’s capitol Wednesday to oppose Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extended stay-at-home order.

The protest, called “Operation Gridlock,” was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund.

While the gridlock was scheduled for 12 p.m., protesters showed up in Lansing hours before and clogged traffic, WOOD reported.

Traffic on Allegan Street was at a standstill and the lanes of Capitol Avenue were congested with demonstrators.

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Although the Facebook event told people to stay in their cars and protest with signs, many people were gathered on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol building.

“I came out here to support the Michigan businesses and stand up for the rights of Michiganders,” protester Joseph Dickson said.

“We believe the governor has overreached and overstepped her rights with our freedoms.”

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On Thursday, Whitmer extended the state of Michigan’s stay-at-home order through April 30.

As of Wednesday morning, there were 27,001 cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, according to Johns Hopkins.

Protesters say that the governor’s mandates are excessive.

“People are basically being told what they can and can’t buy at stores,” Matt Seely with the Michigan Conservative Coalition told WOOD earlier this week.

“Nothing makes sense. You can buy a bottle of liquor, but you can’t buy a gallon of paint.”

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State Rep. Michele Hoitenga showed up on Capitol Avenue to support the protesters.

“I’m just here to support my people. I have a lot of constituents down here right now,” she told WOOD.

“They want to go back to work. If they can’t access the website to get [unemployment] benefits, then they want to go back to work.”

She added, “Nobody is suggesting we go back to work willy nilly, we are recommending we adopt the federal guidelines and do it safely.”

Video footage of the protest showed a large sign outside of the capitol building that read “security without liberty is called prison.”

Republican Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield said that he thinks “we can be responsible and reasonable at the exact same time.”

“We have to ensure that people’s constitutional liberties are protected and that is what we are seeing today,” he told WOOD. “People are coming to the state capitol to ensure their voices are heard and there is nothing more American than that.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Birthplace
Tucson, Arizona
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated with Honors
Education
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Location
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith




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