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Protest at Michigan state Capitol against state's stay-at-home orders

"Gregory Ahmed" (2020-04-16)

Protesters defied social distancing and gathered outside Michigan's State Capitol to demand Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer end her strict stay-at-home orders because it restricts their freedom, and they insisted people are smart enough to make their own decisions.  

wardrobe <strongassembly<\/strong> cloth art cabinet multi-functional furniture" style="max-width:440px;float:left;padding:10px 10px 10px 0px;border:0px;">Furious demonstrators waving Make America Great Again flags leaned out of their car windows and chanted 'lock her up' in heavy traffic as part of #OperationGridlock - a stunt set up by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Besty DeVos family-linked conservative group, Michigan Freedom Fund. 

Thousands of drivers caused havoc around the building in Lansing and backed traffic up for a mile, but hundreds defied pleas from organizers to stay in their cars by heading to the capitol steps to vent their anger at the stringent policies, which they believe are violating their constitutional rights. 

Some said they would rather die from coronavirus than see the small businesses being crippled and forced to close because of the pandemic, which has so far left 28,000 infected and 5,000 dead in Michigan. 

Members of the crowd - many not wearing protective medical masks and some armed with assault rifles - shouted 'Recall Whitmer', waved Confederate flags, showed off Trump-Pence 2020 posters and held banners saying 'Heil Whitmer' and 'live free or die'. 

Many said the closure of home improvement stores, greenhouses, hairdressers, landscaping companies and the banning of boating and fishing was the source of their anger. 

The governor criticized the protesters for risking themselves and others taking part in the protest by touching each other, handing out food with their bare hands and blocking an ambulance. She also said it was ironic that a group rallying against her stay-at-home order 'may have just created a reason to lengthen it'. 

The gathering was an angry response to Whitmer's executive order last Thursday where she imposed one of the strictest set of lockdown guidelines in the country.  

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Thousands of furious demonstrators have gathered at Michigan's state Capitol, creating a massive traffic jam filled with honking cars and flag-waving protesters in defiance of the state's stringent statewide stay-at-home orders on Wednesday. Protesters, some showing off guns, pictured on the front steps of Lansing's Capitol building urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to lift her lockdown mandate

Locals wrapped in winter coats and Office furniture assembly hats carried signs that said 'Stop the Fear', 'End the Lockdown' and 'Heil Whitmer', comparing the governor to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler

The raucous gathering dubbed #OperationGridlock was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition (MCC) in Lansing in protest of Dem. Governor Gretchen Whitmer's lockdown rules that will last through April 30. A protester wearing a MAGA sweater carried a sign that said 'Free Michigan, Trump 2020, Impeach Whitmer'

Three lanes of traffic were filled with lines of cars blaring their horns outside of the state building on Capitol Avenue Wednesday afternoon, with locals declaring they're ready to get back to work and get back to their regular lives

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order extending her prior 'Stay Stafe, Stay Home' order through the end of April

She stopped people in Michigan from returning to work, barred residents interacting with neighbors, restricted interstate travel, and prevented constituents from fleeing to their cabins in the country.   

Whitmer also announced that lawn care, construction, fishing, boating with a motor, home improvement and gardening were non-essential activities - while alcohol and lottery tickets were deemed essential. 

Protesters complained that their freedoms were being denied, and some lamented they could not go a hairdresser to get their roots done or stock up on lawn fertilizer.  

Whitmer held a press conference during the demonstration, where she said: 'I was really disappointed to see people congregating and not wearing masks'. She also said she saw one person 'giving out candy with bare hands'. 

'We know that this demonstration is going to come at a cost to people's health, she added.  'When people gather that way without masks... that's how COVID-19 spreads'.  

'The sad irony here is that ... they don't like being in this stay-at-home order and they may have just created the need to lengthen it, which is something we're trying to avoid at all costs.' 

'This is about public health. I'm not focusing on politics. I'm trying to save lives here.' 

Three lanes of traffic were filled with lines of cars blaring their horns outside of the state building on Capitol Avenue Wednesday afternoon, with locals declaring they're ready to get back to work and get back to their regular lives. 

Traffic was backed up for more than a mile in multiple directions in the protest. 

People in their vehicles pictured protesting against excessive quarantine orders from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer around the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on Wednesday

Dozens of cars were seen swarming the entryway to the state Capitol building in Lansing on Wednesday

A protester pictured bearing a sign that says 'We deem out governor NON essential'

Three protesters pictured in the 'Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine' protest at the Michigan Capitol building in Lansing on Wednesday posing in military garb and armed with guns

Protesters were seen not wearing masks and failing to maintain social distancing at the Wednesday protest

Neither the Michigan State Police or the Lansing Police Department had reported any arrests by 2pm local time.