The Judgment Day protests are underway, but Michigan authorities are clear that they won’t tolerate more death threats or defiance of social distancing.
LANSING, MI — A small but riotous group of Michiganders have called Thursday “Judgment Day.”
Protestors are currently gathered in Lansing to once again oppose Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Increasing hostility around this debate has led to increasingly dangerous environments in Lansing, but this time Michigan leaders are ready to make arrests, they said.
After the American Patriot Rally stormed the Capitol Building with firearms and demanded access to legislators who, in fear of their lives, had worn bulletproof vests, things have continued to spiral. A discussion about banning guns inside the Capitol Building was interrupted with violent threats to members of the State Capitol Commission and death threats against Whitmer have continued to proliferate in advance of the ominously named “Judgment Day” protests Thursday.
Gov. Whitmer has maintained that she respects the right to protest, but since she has received numerous personal death threats, state officials said any protester using weapons in an intimidating or threatening way will be escorted from Capitol grounds in handcuffs and fingerprinted at the police station.
‘Based on previous demonstrations at the Capitol, it is evident that not all people voluntarily comply with the safety measures put in place,’ state police spokeswoman Shanon Banner told the Detroit Free Press. ‘We will be prepared to take enforcement action, as necessary.’
Attorney General Dana Nessel also told constituents that protesters violating social distancing will be ticketed this time. It was Michigan’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson) said that protesters brandishing firearms in an intimidating fashion should be arrested.
‘Law enforcement needs to take this upon their own hands,’ Shirkey told the Daily Mail. ‘When those brandishing activities occur, they need to be addressed and I’m calling on the attorney general and the governor to do so with the cooperation of the Michigan State Police.’
There are also counterprotesters present, as’ The ‘Gander reported.
This sets the stage for Thursday’s protests to have the highest risk of violence yet. And even if it doesn’t mean the protest isn’t still dangerous.
“These protests, in a perverse way, make it likelier we’re going to have to stay in a stay-home posture,” Whitmer said in an appearance on The View. “The whole point of them supposedly is that they don’t want to be doing that.”
That tracks with concerns doctors have about these protests, as The ‘Gander has reported. The issue is that people traveling from different areas of the state with different densities of infection are gathering in one spot, ignoring best practices around social distancing as a core tenet of their protest and then returning to their homes where, based on their political agenda, they likely aren’t social distancing either. This has an extreme risk of bringing the virus to populations it hasn’t so far infected.
And these protests have so far happened every two weeks. By that measure another is likely on May 28 and that one has an explicit assurance that violence will happen, reports Newsweek.
“We haven’t had any bloodshed yet, but the populous [sic] is counting to three, and the other day was two,” one member wrote in a Facebook group. “Next comes watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants.”
The ‘Gander will continue monitoring Judgment Day, and future protests. Check back in for updates.