Michigan United for Liberty is setting its sights on Lansing for a third high-profile protest since mid-April. And this time, it’s “Judgment Day” apparently.
LANSING, MI — Thursday is “Judgment Day” according to Michigan United for Liberty, a group leading a handful of conservative protestors.
That ominous warning comes from their announcements on social media of yet another protest in Lansing, which have so far sparked national outrage for being enshrined in racism and prompted Michigan to reconsider guns at the Capitol.
Judgment Day marks the third high-profile protest Lansing has seen during the coronavirus pandemic as a small but vocal minority of Michiganders bristle at protections designed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The protests have happened every two weeks and have escalated dramatically so far. The first, Gridlock, took social distancing into account and relatively few armed protesters left their cars. The second, American Patriot, escalated to the point that a group of armed gunmen stormed the Capitol Building demanding to be let in to see the House vote, patrolling the Senate gallery and prompting at least one legislator to wear a bulletproof vest, The ‘Gander reported.
Discussions Monday about potentially banning guns inside the Capitol Building — an act condemned by even right-wing pundits and Second Amendment advocates — were disrupted with specific threats against legislators in advance of Judgment Day.
This despite basically getting everything previous protesters demanded. As protesters pressured them to, the Legislature has entered a protracted legal battle aimed at ending Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus protections. Those protections have been considerably relaxed, and that relaxation has been as rapidly deployed as is safe. MI Safe Start, the economic re-engagement plan Whitmer outlined, has already restored construction, manufacturing, outdoor services and some elective medical procedures.
This in spite of Michigan having a case fatality rate significantly higher than the national average, as The ‘Gander has reported, and the possible risks posed by the inevitable second wave. For those reasons, Whitmer has stressed that re-engagement is a dial and not a switch; something that can be fine-tuned to fit the situation.
Still, a small minority of Michigan conservatives are pushing for a more immediate approach.
And they’re pushing for it with assault rifles.
“I’m increasingly concerned about the violent nature of the extreme comments that are being made around these organizations and groups that are coming together,” Whitmer told reporters Monday. “The violent, racist, extreme rhetoric that has already been connected to Thursday’s rally and that was reported by the Metro Times today, I think, is — concerning isn’t a strong enough word.”
The racism Whitmer mentions may seem at first blush to be an odd thing to see in a protest ostensibly about the governor’s response to a pandemic, but as The ‘Gander explored there might be a deeper underlying element to the protest fueled by, and in turn fueling, racism. Specifically racist iconography has been present at both previous protests as well as in indicators in advance of Judgment Day.
A counterprotest, “Stand Up to Rightwing Extremists and White Supremacy”, is planned to run concurrently to Judgment Day. While its members are encouraged to be a silent protest it is impossible to know what interactions will play out between the two forces.