Written by: Emma Randich
Bans and government orders due to Coronavirus have led to American citizens' individual liberties to be infringed upon which has upset hundreds of thousands of people who are now coming together in forms of protests. It started in Michigan when Governor Gretchen Whitmer went further than economic shutdown and carried out the ban of selling and purchasing of ¨nonessential items¨ which to her includes gardening seeds, children car seats, clothing, home improvement equipment, etc. The protest took place on Wednesday April 5th where hundreds of cars gathered in front of and near the capitol building. 4,600 people confirmed their presence at the event and 17,000 people confirmed their interest in it according to the event´s facebook page called ¨Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund¨.
Many other states began to follow the Michigan Conservative Coalition steps and organized their own protests against their governors executive orders. In Olympia, Washington over 2,500 people gathered in cars and outside of the capitol shouting frustration and marching for their rights. Their message to Governor Jay Inslee entails that they want him to admit he was wrong to shut down Washington state's economy. They want him to open up their businesses, they want to go back to work and for him to lift the shut down. Tyler Miller one of the organizers of the ¨Hazardous Liberty! Defending the Constitution¨ protest said ¨we want you to unchain us, unshackle us and let us go back to work on our terms. Let us figure out the creative, innovative solutions to get our state open¨ (Para 11. Komo). Dustin, a passionate protestor, talked about the protests main point which to him is ¨...out of frustration that the governor and government has decided that they know best for our own lives. It was about our livelihoods and civil liberties that were taken away by a governor who clearly used this opportunity to pick winners and losers. It became painfully obvious that this is no longer about the virus.¨ People showed their frustration not only by voicing their opinion but by peacefully staying silent with masks on and with big signs that read ¨go away Jay¨ and others expressing that Washington state citizens ¨cannot tolerate this attack on our liberties to go without response!¨
In Denver, Colorado hundreds gathered as well in frustration and strongly enforcing that they believe the people should have the option in how they want to deal with this virus and the economy. ¨People should be able to make up their own mind. If you don't want to go out, if you're still worried, stay at home. I think you should have the option¨ said Scott Johnson, a protestor in Denver. Many that attended waved signs about individual liberties and their support in re electing President Trump. They fear the economic effects from government shut down especially since in the beginning of April 100,000 people filed for unemployment in the state of Colorado. As the protest continued two citizens identified as health care workers decided to stand in front of cars blocking traffic in counterprotest. The media shined more light on this then they did the protests itself. Social media took the photos of the healthcare workers and made them viral. The two health care workers would not give their names and journalists went digging to find them in several local Denver hospitals but representatives there said they could not identify them.
Other state capitals like Sacramento, California and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania paraded around their capitals with ¨USA¨ chants and signs reading ¨faith not fear¨, ¨I need to go back to work, and ¨paychecks are essential¨. Many protestors claimed that they don't want to collect free money. Those who attended arrived armed to represent their right to bear arms and how they should be able to express their other rights but cannot due to government orders. Co founder of the California protest, Tara Thornton says ¨people need to get back to work, get back to life, get back into contact with their loved ones who they are isolated from, they need to be able to have a paycheck. This is the ground they will enslave us upon¨ (Stanton, Sam. Sacramento Bee).
Associated Press. “Thousands Gather in Olympia to Protest Gov. Inslee's Stay-Home Orders.” KOMO, KOMO, 20 Apr. 2020, komonews.com/news/coronavirus/hundreds-gather-in-olympia-to-protest-gov-inslees-stay-home-orders.
CBSDenver. “Hundreds Of Protesters Gather At Colorado's State Capitol Building Sunday.” CBS Denver, CBS Denver, 19 Apr. 2020, denver.cbslocal.com/2020/04/19/protests-colorado-capitol-coronavirus/.
Martines, Jamie, and Tom Davidson. “Protesters in Pittsburgh Demand Gov. Wolf to Reopen Businesses amid Coronavirus Pandemic.” TribLIVE.com, 21 Apr. 2020, triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/protesters-gather-in-pittsburgh-demanding-gov-wolf-reopen-businesses-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/.
Stanton, Sam, and Hannah Wiley. “California Has a Coronavirus Stay-at-Home Order. So Why Did CHP Permit a Large Protest?” Sacbee, The Sacramento Bee, 20 Apr. 2020, www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article242129761.html.