Thousands of protesters descended on Michigan’s capitol Wednesday to oppose Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extended stay-at-home order.
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.
Updated traffic view: pic.twitter.com/9nxbtILN9a
— Craig Mauger (@CraigDMauger) April 15, 2020
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.”
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.”
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.”
MUST SEE: Quite a scene in Lansing, Michigan as people protest the state’s stay-at-home order. @WOODTV‘s @LeonHendrix joined @AaronNolanNews on #NexstarNation‘s morning #COVID19 #coronavirus update. pic.twitter.com/l7UkLAth3p
— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) April 15, 2020
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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