Hundreds of demonstrators protest Michigan's stay-at-home orders

Incredible scenes at Michigan Capitol as anti-lockdown protesters armed with rifles storm Senate gallery while lawmakers wearing BULLETPROOF VESTS vote against extending Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s state of emergency

  • Demonstrators gathered at Michigan’s state Capitol Thursday to protest Gov Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown
  • Many people at the protest, including militia group members carrying firearms, stormed the Capitol building 
  • Men held guns while waiting for state’s House of Representatives to vote on Whitmer’s state of emergency
  • Senators wore bulletproof vests in the House Chamber as protesters shouted from outside: ‘Let us in!’  
  • Ultimately, lawmakers denied the governor’s request and passed a resolution authorizing the Speaker of the House to commence legal action, which will challenge the governor’s actions during the pandemic
  • ‘American Patriot Rally’ was organized by Michigan United for Liberty, and drew in hundreds of people
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Lawmakers were seen wearing bulletproof vests as armed protesters stormed Michigan’s Capitol in Lansing just moments before the state’s House of Representatives denied Gov Gretchen Whitmer’s request to extend her state of emergency.  

Photos from inside the Michigan House Chamber showed elected officials wearing bulletproof vests while men holding guns stood above them. 

‘Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today,’ Sen Dayna Polehanki tweeted Thursday afternoon. 

In Michigan, guns are permitted inside the state’s Capitol as long as they are visible and carried with lawful intent.

Protesters, who weren’t wearing masks, were seen yelling within inches of officers from the Michigan State Police. 

Others were heard chanting: ‘Let us in! Let us in!’ 

The ‘American Patriot Rally’ which was organized by Michigan United for Liberty, drew in hundreds of residents who carried pro-Trump banners and held anti-Whitmer signs while protesting outside of the Capitol. 

Demonstrators began descending on the Capitol at 9am Thursday morning while lawmakers were trying to decide whether to extend Whitmer’s state of emergency request for 28 more days.  

Ultimately, the lawmakers denied the governor’s request and passed a resolution authorizing the Speaker of the House to commence legal action, which will challenge the governor’s actions during the pandemic. Whitmer is unable to veto the resolution.   

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Protesters tried to enter the Michigan House of Representatives chamber and were being kept out by the Michigan State Police during the American Patriot Rally organized by Michigan United for Liberty

Demonstrators were seen arguing with officers from the Michigan State Police as they tried to enter the capitol building  

Armed men are seen inside the Michigan State Capitol after they stormed inside during a rally on Thursday 

Protesters tried to enter the Michigan House of Representatives chamber but were being kept out by the Michigan State Police

Photos from inside the Michigan House Chamber showed elected officials wearing bulletproof vests while men (pictured) holding guns stood above them 

Trump supporters wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats are seen crowding inside the state Capitol building 

A militia group with no political affiliation stands in front of the governors office after protesters occupied the state Capitol building

People protest against the governor’s coronavirus lockdown inside the Capitol on Thursday

One protester wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat is seen selling at officers inside the Capitol building 

A protester is seen yelling at Michigan State Police while holding a gun after storming the Capitol Thursday afternoon 

Matt Maddock a Republican member of the Michigan House of Representatives, speaks with protesters inside the Capitol 

Many of those gathered for the protest included militia group members carrying firearms and people holding up pro-Trump signs. 

Most of them appeared to be ignoring state social-distancing guidelines as they clustered together within six feet of each other. Few people wore masks. 

Michigan’s directive, while stricter than most, has the same goal: to keep Americans safe from the coronavirus. 

In the United States, more than 1 million people have been infected with the virus. The death toll increases each day and as of Thursday afternoon it surpassed 62,000. In Michigan, more than 3,600 people have died from the virus and more than 40,000 people have contracted the illness. 

But nonetheless protests to open governments have erupted across the United States, with Thursday’s rally occurring just a day after a Michigan judge sided with Whitmer in a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs who claimed her stay-at-home order violated their constitutional rights.  

Court of Claims Judge Christopher M. Murray disagreed, saying that the plaintiffs’ arguments were not strong due to the severity of the pandemic. 

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Michigan’s state Capitol in Lansing on Thursday to protest Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request to extend the state of emergency to combat COVID-19

Protesters rally outside of the state capitol building before the vote on the extension of  Whitmer’s emergency stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus outbreak 

Armed protesters provide security as demonstrators take part in an ‘American Patriot Rally’, organized by Michigan United for Liberty

A protester wears an upside down flag painted on her face as she stands at an American Patriot Rally on Thursday 

One demonstrator held a sign that has Gov Whitmer depicted as Adolph Hitler during the rally on Thursday 

Ryan Kelley, a protest organizer for the American Patriot Rally, is seen speaking to attendees on Thursday 

A woman wearing a Trump 2020 hat is seen holding a sign that reads: ‘Every job is essential. Get workers back to work safely now’ 

Demonstrators hold a banner with the word ‘freedom’ during Thursday’s protest against the governor’s stay-at-home directive

Murray wrote in the court order: ‘Although the Court is painfully aware of the difficulties of living under the restrictions of these executive orders, those difficulties are temporary, while to those who contract the virus and cannot recover (and to their family members and friends), it is all too permanent.’ 

During Thursday’s protest, Mike Detmer, a Republican US congressional candidate running for the state’s 8th district spot held by Democrat Elissa Slotkin, told the crowd: ‘Governor Whitmer, and our state legislature, it’s over with. Open this state.

‘Let’s get businesses back open again. Let’s make sure there are jobs to go back to.’

Other speakers at the rally questioned the deadliness of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. 

They also said Whitmer’s stay-at-home order violated constitutional rights, and urged people to open their businesses on May 1 in disregard of her order.

Thursday’s rally began around 9am under steady rainfall  with some protesters chanting ‘USA’ and ‘lock her up,’ referring to Whitmer, but alluding to a refrain often chanted at 2016 Trump rallies directed at Hillary Clinton.

As the event began around 9am under steady rainfall, some protesters chanted ‘USA’ and ‘lock her up,’ referring to Whitmer (left), but alluding to a refrain often chanted at 2016 Trump rallies directed at Hillary Clinton

Hoisting American flags and handmade signs, protesters denounced Whitmer’s stay-home order and business restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic while lawmakers met to consider extending her emergency declaration hours before it expires

Protesters hold Trump 2020 banners during the rally at the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, on Thursday 

Armed protesters provide security as demonstrators take part in an ‘American Patriot Rally,’ organized on Thursday 

One woman held a sign that called the coronavirus a ‘hoax’ despite the deaths of more than 62,000 people across the US, with at least 3,670 of those in Michigan

Another protester held a sign with a heart in front of Trump’s name during the rally outside of Michigan’s State Capitol  

Demonstrators were clearly violating the recommended six-feet apart social distancing order as they protested on Thursday 

A man is seen holding an American flag with a sign that reads: ‘I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees’

A woman is seen holding a sign demanding the governor ‘unlock us now’ during Thursday’s rally 

State authorities have warned that protesters could be ticketed for violating social-distancing rules. 

Judge: Stay-at-home order does NOT infringe on constitutional rights

Michigan’s stay-at-home order imposed during the coronavirus outbreak does not infringe on constitutional rights, according to a judge’s ruling that threw out a lawsuit filed against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Court of Claims Judge Christopher M. Murray denied granting an injunction of the governor’s March 24th order requested in the lawsuit filed by five state residents.  

Judge Murray, however, said the residents’ claims that the order infringed on their constitutional rights were not strong enough due to the severity of the pandemic.

Reversing the order ‘would not serve the public interest, despite the temporary harm to plaintiffs’ constitutional rights,’ wrote the judge in the court ruling.   

The mayor of Lansing, Andy Schor, said in a statement on Wednesday that he was ‘disappointed’ protesters would put themselves and others at risk, but recognized that Whitmer’s order still allowed people to ‘exercise their First Amendment right to freedom of speech’.

Whitmer has acknowledged that her order was the strictest in the country. 

Protesters, many from more rural, Trump-leaning parts of Michigan, have argued it has crippled the economy statewide even as the majority of deaths from the virus are centered on the southeastern Detroit metro area.

Organizers of a mid-April protest in Michigan took credit when Whitmer recently rolled back some of the most controversial elements of her order, such as bans on people traveling to their other properties.

Whitmer’s stay-at-home order is set to continue through May 15, though she has said she could loosen restrictions as health experts determine new cases of COVID-19 are being successfully controlled.

On Wednesday, she said the construction industry could get back to work starting May 7.   

The rally saw attendees bring their children who also held signs in protest of the stay-at-home order 

Some people held American flags while others wrapped themselves with Trump 2020 banners  

Some people used their trucks and boats (pictured) to display demands during the rally on Thursday 

‘Set us free from tyranny,’ one protester’s display read as demonstrators chanted during the rally 

A woman wore a mask that reads: ‘Whitmer lied and people died.’ She was one of very few people wearing protective gear on Thursday 

There was at least one counter-protester near the rally on Thursday who held a sign that reads: ‘Go home! Covidiots!’

Thursday’s protest appeared to be the largest in the state since April 15, when supporters and allies of President Donald Trump organized thousands of people for ‘Operation Gridlock,’ jamming the streets of Lansing with their cars to call out what they said was the overreach of Whitmer’s strict stay-at-home order.

That was one of the country’s first major anti-lockdown rallies, and helped sparked a wave of similar events nationwide.  

The slow reopening of state economies around the country has taken on political overtones, as Republican politicians and individuals affiliated with Trump’s re-election promoted protests in electoral battleground states, such as Michigan. 

Many states, including Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska, South Carolina and Ohio, have already moved to restart parts of their economies following weeks of mandatory lockdowns that have thrown nearly one in six American workers out of their jobs.

Public health authorities warn that increasing human interactions now without appropriate safety measures may spark a fresh surge of infections.

Regardless of the warning, people have taken to the streets to demonstrate against lockdown orders. 

There are more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States with at least 62,547 deaths 

Earlier this week, hundreds of lockdown rebels attended the ‘Reopen North Carolina’ rally despite the group’s leader, Audrey Whitlock, testing positive for the coronavirus.  

The group, which has been campaigning for government officials to reopen the state and relax coronavirus restrictions, were seen gathered outside the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh.

Many waved American flags while others held signs that read: ‘Set our people free.’ 

Hardly any of the protesters were wearing masks or other protective gear as they clearly violated the social distancing order to remain six feet apart. 

The demonstrators called on Gov Roy Cooper to ease the stay-at-home orders for the state where there are more than 9,900 confirmed cases and 354 deaths.  

ReOpen NC is promising to hold rallies in Raleigh every Tuesday until the governor’s restrictions are lifted. His stay-at-home order has been extended until May 8.

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