Conservative Michiganders filled the streets outside the Capitol this week, risking extending quarantine in order to protest the quarantine.
LANSING, MI — Thousands gathered outside the capitol Wednesday to protest the extended and expanded stay-at-home order Gov. Whitmer.issued as a response to coronavirus. Protestors demanded access to things prohibited under that order like flower seeds for gardening.
The irony is that the protests’ refusal to engage in pandemic best practices might actually further extend the order they were there to protest to begin with.
While many of the 3,000 to 4,000 protesters remained in their vehicles, a significant number protested in close quarters on the lawn, risking spreading the virus to one another, to essential frontline workers and to children.
“I saw someone handing out candy to little kids barehanded,” Whitmer told reporters. “People are flying the Confederate flag, and untold numbers who gassed up on the way here or grabbed a bite on the way home. We know that this rally endangered people. This kind of activity will put more people at risk and, sadly, it could prolong the amount of time we have to be in this posture.”
In an interview, one protester admitted to the Associated Press that she knew people were dying, even people she knew, but lamented the lack of ability to buy paint. Other protesters complained about lack of access to hairdressers according to the Guardian.
Protesters carried signs saying Michiganders felt like prisoners, accused Whitmer of abusing power, shouted about the economy and inconveniences of quarantine. At the same time, almost 30,000 Michiganders have confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
Deadline Detroit reports on a viral video from Chelsea Barrera, an employee of nearby Sparrow Hospital which showed vehicles besieging the hospital, blocking entrances and exits.
“You have the right to express your freedom of speech,” she wrote, “but what you DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT to do is block the entrance/exit of a level 1 trauma hospital or delay the response time for paramedics to get to people due to backed up traffic or your unwillingness to move your car over in order for them to get through.”
“While you’re honking your horns, yelling and protesting, YOU are putting people at risk. YOU are making it impossible for EMS to get to LIFE AND DEATH situations. YOU are disturbing the peace of people who are already admitted to the hospital. YOU are Preventing health care workers to swiftly respond to cardiac arrests etc. Stay home. Save a life.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
is a politics, policy and law journalist from Kalamazoo, Michigan. She studied political science at Western Michigan University and has been published in multiple national and international outlets.