Protesters clog Buffalo, demanding Cuomo lift the lockdown in New York, worst hit by Covid-19 (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
A motorcade of protesters has jammed up Niagara Square in Buffalo, New York. The demonstrators want lockdown measures lifted in their corner of the Empire State, but their defiance has angered some citizens.
Sticking to their cars to maintain social distance, a crowd of protesters blocked the streets of central Buffalo on Monday, calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to reopen the economy of New York State. While New York City has seen more than 130,000 cases of coronavirus and 10,000 deaths, Erie County, where Buffalo is located, has seen 2,200 cases and 143 fatalities.
Despite the discrepancy, Cuomo’s stay-at-home order applies to the entirety of the state.
HAPPENING NOW: A protest is underway in Niagara Square for Gov. Cuomo to re-open parts of WNY and not extend pause order to WNY. @wkbwpic.twitter.com/OzMwPvAFlo— Hannah Buehler (@HannahBuehler) April 20, 2020
#OpenNY protest happening in Niagara Square in Buffalo right now. pic.twitter.com/w0EtmGUfOG— Ryan Whalen (@RyanWhalenCT) April 20, 2020
“Everything Cuomo is doing is aimed at New York City. But we have to suffer the consequences and it has to stop,” one protester told local media on Sunday.
Cuomo has extended the shutdown until May 15, after President Donald Trump announced he would leave the decision on when to re-open up to state governors. However, New York is not the only state reluctant to relax the lockdown, and similar protests have broken out in more than ten states in recent days, including in Texas, Washington, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
In scenes repeated across the country, protesters flew a mix of American, Gadsden, and even Confederate flags from their cars.
At least several dozen cars involved (hard to get an accurate count when they’re moving). One is displaying a confederate flag for some reason. pic.twitter.com/TDqyYMN2vz— Ryan Whalen (@RyanWhalenCT) April 20, 2020
Some of the sights of today’s “Gridlock Buffalo” protest in Niagara Square. Protesters want the economy to reopen amid the Covid-19 pandemic. @NewsRadio930pic.twitter.com/STTTEXm3mz— Brendan Keany (@BrendanKeany) April 20, 2020
President Trump may have succeeded in focusing public anger on the nation’s governors instead of the federal government, yet the protests have not been popular with everyone.
Online comments dubbed the circle of traffic in Niagara Square the “Moron 500,” while a nurse who held a solitary counterprotest was hailed as a hero on Twitter.
She in fact represents the 915,000 Erie County residents who want to continue with safe practices. We only decided to send one person to best demonstrate social distancing. #COVIDIOT#gridlockbuffalohttps://t.co/Fqw6hgecMB— R.A. Smith (@RASmith2017) April 20, 2020
Similar scenes played out at a protest in Denver, Colorado, on Sunday. There, photos of a healthcare worker standing in front of a protester’s pickup truck went viral, symbolizing the divide in America over lifting the lockdown.
Brava to Denver photojournalist @McclaranAlyson, who got this shot of a healthcare worker in a standoff with a protester who wants the stay at home orders lifted. https://t.co/EZzawW2WNopic.twitter.com/ooH75CSDfn— Bill Grueskin (@BGrueskin) April 20, 2020
Hours before the demonstration kicked off in Buffalo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared on ABC News, saying his platform will remove all groups planning similar protests, accusing them of spreading “harmful misinformation.” Though the gatherings are legal, Facebook told a CNN reporter that the decision was reached after consultation with a number of governors.
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