Democrats fume as armed protesters descend on Michigan Capitol to protest lockdown
Crowds of protesters, some carrying weapons, descended on the state capitol in Lansing, Michigan, as legislators considered extending Covid-19 lockdown measures. Democrats blamed President Donald Trump.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a stay-at-home order late last month, as the coronavirus epidemic took hold in her state. When the governor – a Democrat and fierce critic of Trump – extended the order by 15 days last week, a group of residents filed a lawsuit claiming Whitmer had infringed their constitutional rights.
After the Michigan Court of Claims rejected the suit, the state legislature sat down in Lansing on Thursday to debate extending Whitmer’s state of emergency.
Protest moves inside Michigan Capitol. Crowd attempts to get onto Hoise floor. Lots of Michigan State Police and House sergeants at arms blocking door. pic.twitter.com/4FNQpimP4W— Rod Meloni (@RodMeloni) April 30, 2020
Though the vote would not affect the standing stay-at-home order, it could renew the state of emergency that grants Whitmer the power to issue such restrictions. Hundreds of demonstrators showed up, clad in US flags and MAGA hats, and chanting “Let us in!” and “Vote no!”
It was the second mass rally against Whitmer’s lockdown measures. Two weeks ago, thousands drove to Lansing – mostly observing social distancing protocols – outraged at the governor’s ban on “non-essential” activities that included selling gardening tools or paying someone to mow the lawn.Also on rt.com Thousands DRIVE to Michigan capitol in protest over governor’s strict Covid-19 lockdown (PHOTO, VIDEO)
Thursday’s demonstration, dubbed the “American Patriot Rally,” drew some gun-rights advocates, who carried their firearms into the capitol building. Democratic politicians and pundits noticed this and immediately portrayed the protests as some kind of armed insurrection by white nationalists
“This is America in the age of Trump,” one pundit commented, in apparent solemnity.
Multiple armed gunmen storm Michigan’s State House, State police are protecting @GovWhitmer and blocking the gunmen from gaining access to the house floor. This is America in the age of Trump. pic.twitter.com/tLWR2bvjtR— Rob Gill (@vote4robgill) April 30, 2020
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) – member of the ‘Squad’ of progressive female freshmen – weighed in as well, claiming that while “black people get executed by police for just existing… white people dressed like militia members carrying assault weapons are allowed to threaten state legislators and staff.
“Our gun laws are so broken,” Tlaib added.
Black people get executed by police for just existing, while white people dressed like militia members carrying assault weapons are allowed to threaten State Legislators and staff. 📣Our gun laws are so broken. https://t.co/w6Vw97kTV9— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) April 30, 2020
The racial narrative quickly became the talking point of the day, with some going so far as to call the armed protesters terrorists.
White gunmen storm Michigan Capitol with assault-style rifles, claiming to protest coronavirus restrictions. Lawmakers and staff inside the State House in Lansing shared disturbing video and photos.https://t.co/yGrgFhrFfD— Xeni Jardin 😷🏠 (@xeni) April 30, 2020
White privilege is doing things that a Black person would get killed for doing. I’m looking at you, Michigan.— Touré (@Toure) April 30, 2020
I have NEVER in my life seen anything like this before. Armed white men stormed the Michigan State House and are blocking entrances while the Sergeants-at-Arms are doing their best to protect the senators who have to wear bullet proof vest while they’re in session! pic.twitter.com/DPU2N3vEf2— Jeff (@jefeinchief) April 30, 2020
Ultimately, the Michigan House voted not to extend Whitmer’s emergency powers and passed a resolution instead authorizing Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Republican, to take legal action against the governor for her use of these powers during the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 40,000 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in Michigan, with just under 3,800 fatalities so far – overwhelmingly in Detroit and the surrounding counties. The US as a whole has registered more than a million cases, along with nearly 64,000 deaths.
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