Protesters will break social distancing again in Lansing this Thursday, despite relaxed protections. What they want is a total end to coronavirus response.
LANSING, MI — Despite a revised “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order that allows Michiganders to get gardening supplies, go boating and play golf, conservatives are still set to protest protections against spreading the coronavirus. Haircuts are among the newest demands.
It comes two weeks after “Operation Gridlock” fanned national flames of resistance to protections designed to slow the spread of the pandemic novel coronavirus. Now another right-wing protest is planned that further defies our social distancing protections.
These conservative Event organizers scheduled the event for April 30 and it will take place on the Capitol lawn again. This one even more directly calls for protesters to ignore social distancing procedures than “Operation Gridlock” which encouraged protesters to remain in cars for public health reasons.
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The aim of the protest is to pressure the Republican-controlled legislature to end the emergency declarations that afford Gov. Whitmer the ability to implement a wide array of emergency responses. These organizers are demanding a hard re-open May 1, one day after the original “Stay Home, Stay Safe” protections lapse.
MLive reports that Facebook deleted the event organizing the “Rally on the State Capitol Lawn” for violating government policies on social distancing. This is part of Facebook’s pledge to remove content that encourages the defying of health guidance or claims that discourage appropriate precautions.
“We reached out to state officials to understand the scope of their orders, not about removing specific protests on Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson told MLive. “We remove the posts when gatherings do not follow the health parameters established by the government and are therefore unlawful.”
Nearly 3,500 Michiganders have died from the coronavirus and more than 38,000 have contracted the disease, according to numbers reported Monday.
Polling by CBS found that 70% of Americans prioritize protections against the virus’ spread over returning to normal daily life, and MSNBC reports 80% of Americans support mandatory stay-at-home orders. In Michigan in particular while only 12% think the protections nationwide go too far. And The ‘Gander reported a wide majority approve of the protections the state has in place.
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MLive reports protesters who believe they might have a serious case of the coronavirus, or who believe family members have such a case, are encouraged to remain in their cars still.
The ‘Gander, Medical News Today, Live Science and countless other outlets have debunked myths about the coronavirus pandemic, and some of the most common are those arguing the virus is far less of a cause for concern than it has been portrayed in the media or being easily cured.
Conspiracies and misinformation in conservative media have become a pandemic all their own, academics have noted. COURIER reports that a group of more than 70 academics and journalists signed a letter calling Fox News, specifically, a hazard to public health.
President Trump has also been stoking the flames of protests like the April 30 “Rally on the State Capitol Lawn” with his feud with governors like Whitmer and calls to “liberate” states whose Democratic governors have enacted stay-at-home orders.
“I’m ready to go get a haircut,” Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) told the Atlantic. But movie theaters he’d pass on. ““I got Netflix and Disney+ and Amazon Prime. I’m good.”
Meanwhile, a doctor in his district warned The ‘Gander that the kind of reopening protesters want (and the protests themselves) put Michiganders at risk.
SEE ALSO: How A Wave of Disinformation Fueled Michigan’s Pandemic Protests
“I am concerned that the Lansing protests likely exposed a significant number of people to SARSCov2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) who then brought it back to their communities,” Dr, Rob Davidson said. “We will not see the impact of that for a few weeks.”
Some potential attendees on Facebook expressed worries that Confederate flags, a lack of personal protective equipment, guns and pro-Trump messaging at the “Operation Gridlock” event made the protest appear to be a partisan rally.
“It was essentially a political rally, a political statement that flies in the face of all of the science and all of the best practices from the stay-at-home order that was issued,” Whitmer said on MSNBC.
Despite the easing of various protections in the May evolution of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, the protest is still set to take place Thursday.
READ MORE: 5 Ways Michigan’s Stay-at-Home Order Will Be Different in May
Lansing’s mayor Andy Schor also expressed his frustrations with the “Operation Gridlock” protest.
“Lansing is proud to be the Capital City and I strongly believe in the right for people to protest their government,” Schor said on Facebook. “We will always allow legal protesting, but we will be on vigilant watch for violations of the rights of our residents, workers and others who are just doing their jobs and living their lives.”
Robert Merritt, public information director for the Lansing Police Department, told MLive the group has been working with law enforcement, and that police will monitor the protest taking enforcement actions if they becomes necessary.