Anti-lockdown protesters turned on each other in Michigan Thursday when one demonstrator was manhandled out of the crowds for waving a doll on a noose, amid warnings from officials that attendees may face arrest if they brandish firearms at the rally.
Things turned ugly on the steps of the Lansing capitol building on what organizers have described as ‘Judgement Day’ when the protester was caught on camera waving an American flag with a dark-haired unclothed doll hanging from it by the neck. He was also armed with a large ax, a garbage can and a sign.
The man was confronted by several fellow protesters who slammed him saying he was sending out the ‘wrong message’ after he claimed the doll was dark-haired Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, according to WSBT22.
This comes as Whitmer faced multiple threats of violence from state residents online earlier this week.
A couple of men tried to remove the doll from the man before a fight broke out and Michigan State Police were called to step in.
The man – who was not wearing a face mask – was taken into the Capitol building after the fight and his ax was confiscated by police.
Anti-lockdown protesters turned on each other in Michigan Thursday when one demonstrator (center) was manhandled out of the crowds for waving a doll on a noose
Things turned ugly between fellow protesters (pictured) on the steps of the Lansing capitol building on what organizers described as ‘Judgement Day’
The protester was caught on camera waving an American flag with a dark-haired unclothed doll hanging from it by the neck
The man claimed the doll was dark-haired Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, according to WSBT22 . This comes as Whitmer faced multiple threats of violence from state residents online earlier this week
The man was confronted by several fellow protesters who slammed him saying he was sending the ‘wrong message’ before a scuffle broke out and police were called to step in
The man (not pictured) was also carrying an ax (above), a garbage can and a sign. Police took him into the Capitol building after the fight and the ax was confiscated
GOV. WHITMER’S STAY-AT-HOME ORDER:
The ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order introduced on March 24 has now been extended until May 28. But some rules have been relaxed:
- Garden stores, nurseries, lawn-care, pest-control and landscaping operations could reopen from April 24
- Construction industry could return to work on May 7
- Manufacturing industry could restart on May 11
- Retailers of nonessential goods can reopen for curbside pickup and delivery
- Bars and restaurants continue to be limited to take-out only
- Nonessential businesses are still limited to minimum operations or remote work
Police confirmed in a tweet that troopers had responded to a fight between two people, when ‘one demonstrator tried to take a sign out of another demonstrator’s hand’.
There were no injuries and no arrests were made, police said, adding that the ‘victim is a 60-year-old male’.
Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters began gathering outside the state capitol building from 9am Thursday morning for what organizers insisted would be a ‘peaceful’ protest.
Dubbed ‘Judgement Day’ by organizers Michigan United for Liberty, demonstrators marched on the statehouse in protest of Governor Whitmer’s stay-at-home order.
Lawmakers are not in session today and the capitol building is closed, after several armed protesters entered the building during last month’s rally.
Swarms of people began gathering early morning in defiance of the rainy weather, holding up signs and waving American flags.
By midday around 200 protesters were packed in to the area while thunder and lightning reigned overhead.
Many protesters were heavily armed with rifles and some were pictured wearing police-style bulletproof vests.
Few opted to wear face masks, designed to protect people from contracting the virus and slowing its spread.
Anti-lockdown protesters started descending on the Michigan capital of Lansing again today amid warnings that they may face arrest if they brandish firearms in an intimidating manner at the event
Dubbed ‘Judgement Day’ by organizers Michigan United for Liberty, hundreds of demonstrators headed for the state capitol building from 9am
One protester wore a rain poncho and a bandanna covering his face while carrying a firearm – something protesters can do under the state’s open carry law
Two protesters sported traffic stop signs emblazoned with ‘Stop Whitmer Now’ in anger at the governor’s handling of the pandemic
One protester held aloft a poster where they had defaced Whitmer’s photo with an Adolf Hitler style mustache next to the slogan ‘Tyranny has a face’
A large banner reading ‘Freeedom’ was tied across the statehouse steps as the crowds ignored social distancing rules and huddled under umbrellas below.
One woman with a blue wig was pictured carrying an American flag and a sign that read ‘Open the damn salons’, while others sported traffic stop signs emblazoned with ‘Stop Whitmer Now’.
Another protester held aloft a poster where they had defaced Whitmer’s photo with an Adolf Hitler style mustache next to the slogan ‘Tyranny has a face’.
As well as the Michigan United for Liberty group, members of other protest groups were also in attendance.
Protesters accessorized their raincoats and umbrellas with semi-automatic rifles in Lansing Thursday
As of Thursday, Michigan has the fifth highest death toll from COVID-19 among the 50 states with 4,714 residents killed and 48,391 infected by the deadly virus
Protesters hold up signs reading: ‘Truth will set us free’, ‘Make Michigan work again’ and ‘Fake news, real dystopia’
Anti-abortion protesters were also gathered outside the statehouse Thursday, with drummers playing music in the rain
A man wears as gas mask while waving an American flag. Demonstrators are marching on the statehouse in protest of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus
Many protesters were heavily armed and some were pictured wearing police-style bulletproof vests (left)
One member of the Michigan Liberty Militia, Phil Robinson, told Detroit News he was exercising his right to carry a gun at the capitol building – something state officials are currently debating whether to ban.
‘It’s very simple. It’s a right. Nobody has the ability to take away a right,’ he said.
‘That is our house. That is the people’s house. It’s no different than me being at my house open carrying.’
Anti-abortion protesters also took to the streets to drum up publicity for their own campaign. Women were pictured holding graphic posters of fetuses while drummers played music in the rain.
Anti-lockdown protesters were met with opposition from counter-protesters who maintain that stay-at-home orders and social distancing are critical to saving lives amid the pandemic – something that medical experts and the White House immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci are urging officials and residents to comply with.
Michigan residents angry at the lockdown carry rifles at the protest. Firearms are permitted both inside the statehouse and at the rally as Michigan is an open carry state
Michigan residents carry out their right to carry firearms. Law enforcement issued a warning ahead of Thursday’s protest that anyone brandishing a firearm with the intent to create fear may face arrest
One counter-protester John Rouse walked around the lawn of the state capitol wearing a mask and holding up a sign in support of Governor Whitmer.
His message read: ‘Peace. I support the woman from Michigan.’
By around 1pm crowds were dwindling with police reporting only around 75 rain-soaked protesters still in attendance.
Later in the day as the protest died down, Michigan Police Lieutenant Oleksyk announced there were no arrests and no citations issued throughout the day.
Whitmer slammed the anti-lockdown protesters this week saying their actions could actually lead to an extension of the state lockdown.
‘The fact of the matter is these protests, in a perverse way, make it likelier that we are going to have to stay in a stay-home posture,’ Whitmer told ABC’s ‘The View’ Wednesday.
‘The whole point of them, supposedly, is that they don’t want to be doing that.’
Anti-lockdown protesters were met with opposition from counter-protesters including John Rouse (above)
An armed nurse with a concealed-pistol permit from Wyoming, Michigna, stands in silent support of Gov. Whitmer
Michigan State Police patrol the area while one officer speaks to the man (center) at the center of the scuffle in the crowds this morning
She also blasted the protesters for carrying firearms, which she said was being done to ‘intimidate others’ and said activity from some protesters is ‘racist and misogynistic’.
‘Arms were being used to intimidate others… and that is not legal activity,’ she said. ‘We have legislators who are showing up to work wearing bullet-proof vests.’
‘These have been really political rallies where people come with Confederate flags and Nazi symbolism and calling for violence,’ she added.
‘This is not appropriate in a global pandemic, but it is certainly not an exercise of democratic principles, where we have free speech. This is calls to violence. This is racist and misogynistic.’
Michigan United for Liberty has insisted the event will be ‘peaceful’ after some lawmakers said they felt threatened during the last protest when demonstrators – some carrying guns – entered the statehouse.
Firearms are permitted both inside the statehouse and at the rally as Michigan is an open carry state.
A heavily armed protester gathers on the lawn. Lawmakers will not be in session today and the capitol building will be closed this time, after several armed protesters entered the building during last month’s rally
Swarms of people – with many not wearing face masks (above) – began gathering early morning in defiance of the rainy weather
The wet weather didn’t deter people from coming out to protest the stay-at-home order which was extended until May 28
However law enforcement issued a warning ahead of Thursday’s protest that anyone brandishing a firearm with the intent to create fear could face arrest.
Michigan State Police Col. Joe Gasper and Attorney General Dana Nessel said demonstrators should be safe and respectful and warned that people refusing to obey law enforcement or brandishing a firearm could be subject to criminal prosecution.
‘While our desire is to interfere as little as possible in demonstrations, we will not allow unlawful, threatening or intimidating behavior,’ Gasper said in a statement.
‘Based on safety concerns expressed following previous demonstrations, attendees can expect to see an increased MSP presence on Thursday.’
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said that despite a longstanding rule that Michiganders with permits can bring weapons into the capitol, ‘anyone brandishing them in such a way as to intimidate or threaten anyone else should be properly handcuffed, properly taken in and fingerprinted.’
Michigan State Police Col. Joe Gasper and Attorney General Dana Nessel warned demonstrators this week they should be safe and respectful and warned that people refusing to obey law enforcement or brandishing a firearm could be subject to criminal prosecution
Michigan residents have grown tired of the stay-at-home order and are demanding that businesses and the economy reopen
One woman in a blue wig was pictured carrying an American flag and a sign that read ‘Open the damn salons’
Protesters carrying weapons gather at the capitol building on May 14 – the third rally over the last month against the state lockdown
‘Law enforcement needs to take this upon their own hands,’ Shirkey said. ‘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.’
However, the largely Republican legislature stopped short of issuing a blanket ban on bringing firearms inside the statehouse, with the Michigan Capitol Commission deciding to delay a vote on the move on Monday.
Democrat Governor Whitmer has spoken out in favor of issuing a ban.
‘No one should have to go to work and feel intimidated,’ Whitmer told CNN Wednesday.
‘Making the capitol a gun-free zone is important in making people feel they can do their job safely.’
Police began ramping up patrols of the area Wednesday night ahead of the rally and a larger law enforcement presence was in attendance compared to previous rallies.
Armed demonstrators dress in camouflage gear and carry firearms at the event. Whitmer has said protesters’ actions could cause lockdown to be extended even further
This marks the third time Michigan residents have taken to the streets to protest against Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, which they have branded ‘unconstitutional’
Michigan’s stay-at-home order is one of the strictest across the whole of the US and has been extended until at least May 28
One of the first protesters is pictured arriving this morning as officials prepared for a busy day
Police are pictured at the start of the day. Police presence was expected to be larger than at the last two events
This marks the third time Michigan residents have taken to the streets to protest against Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, which they have branded ‘unconstitutional’.
Michigan’s stay-at-home order is one of the strictest across the whole of the US and has been extended until at least May 28.
Hundreds of protesters, some armed, gathered at the capitol building on April 30 to protest against the extension last month.
Several protesters spilled inside the building, with some heavily-armed men pictured on the visitor’s balcony in the Senate chambers.
Some demanded to be let onto the House floor – something that is prohibited – and they were blocked by police.
The first protest on April 15 – named ‘Operation Gridlock’ – saw thousands of cars block the streets around the capitol building as demonstrators packed in on the lawn outside.
President Donald Trump encouraged protesters when he tweeted ‘LIBERATE MICHIGAN!’ a day after the first protest.
After the second rally, he also said protesters were ‘very good people’ and suggested Whitmer ‘make a deal’ with them.
Protesters are demanding an end to Gov. Whitmer’s (pictured) stay-at-home order which has been extended through to at least May 28
His comments came after he ripped into the Democrat governor in late March accusing her of ‘not stepping up’ and saying ‘all she does is sit there and blame the federal government’.
Whitmer turned to Vice President Mike Pence this week urging him to discourage protesters from coming out but her calls went unanswered.
Many have questioned whether there is a political motive to Trump’s criticism as the governor has emerged as a potential running-mate for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the crowds of anti-lockdown protesters have been seen sporting Trump and MAGA paraphernalia.
Whitmer has also faced pushback from the Republican Michigan legislature who last week sued the Democratic governor in the state Court of Claims, saying she had exceeded her authority in extending her emergency powers to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
She responded by slamming the Republican lawmakers saying they were trying ‘to build a constitutional crisis atop a public health crisis.’
Protesters at last month’s rally on April 30. For Thursday’s protest, demonstrators have been warned they could face arrest if they brandish firearms in an intimidating manner at the event
On April 30 several protesters – some carrying guns – entered the capitol building. Firearms are permitted both inside the statehouse and at the rally as Michigan is an open carry state
Whitmer has been the subject of numerous vile online threats made by residents opposed to her executive order.
According to the Detroit Metro Times, four private Facebook group with a combined 400,000 members had posts encouraging acts of violence against Whitmer and defiance of her social-distancing orders.
Several members of the groups even called for the assassination of Whitmer ahead of Thursday’s rally, with one man writing: ‘Can we please just take up a collection for an assassin to put that woman from Michigan down.’
Other hateful statements include: ‘Plain and simple she needs to eat lead and send a statement to the rest of the democrats that they are next.’
But while protesters have been very vocal about their upset over her stay-at-home order, Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic has been been met by approval from most state residents.
Protesters enter the statehouse on April 30. The largely Republican legislature ruled out a blanket ban on bringing firearms inside the statehouse ahead of Thursday’s protest, against Whitmer’s wishes
The first protest on April 15. Thursday’s protest had an increased police presence
In a Washington Post-Ipsos poll, 72 percent of residents said they approved of her actions while 25 percent disapproved.
Whitmer’s initial ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order was introduced on March 24 and she has extended it until May 28.
Some restrictions on non-essential businesses have been relaxed in the state, however.
Garden stores, nurseries, lawn-care, pest-control and landscaping operations were allowed to resume business from April 24.
The construction industry could return to work on May 7, and the manufacturing industry restart on May 11.
Nonessential businesses are still limited to minimum operations or remote work.
Retailers that do not sell necessary supplies can reopen for curbside pickup and delivery, while bars and restaurants continue to be limited to take-out only.
As of Thursday, it has the fifth highest death toll from COVID-19 among the 50 states with 4,714 residents killed and 48,391 infected by the deadly virus.
‘You’re not a dictator’: Florida Gov DeSantis calls out other governors for ‘draconian’ lockdowns and says ‘people have rights’
By Megan Sheets for DailyMail.com
‘You’re not a dictator, you don’t have unlimited authority, and people do have rights,’ DeSantis said in an interview with Fox & Friends.
He made the comments after being asked if he thinks ‘some of these governors that are just doing a one-size-fits-all for the entire state’ are ‘being too strict and going too far.’
‘I don’t think any governor has the authority to restrict anyone unless there’s a direct relationship to combating this virus,’ DeSantis replied.
‘If you look around the country, clearly there have been examples of really draconian, arbitrary restrictions that have nothing to do with public health, like you can’t plant a seed in your front yard in your garden, you can’t walk around the neighborhood with your daughter or something like that.’
‘Some of this stuff I think has devolved into social control. I think absolutely it’s gotten out of hand.’
DeSantis went on to note that in Florida ‘we did not do that’.
Florida Gov Ron DeSantis tore into other governors who have ordered ‘draconian’ lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic in an interview with Fox & Friends on Thursday
‘We were reasonable,’ DeSantis said. ‘We trusted the people to act appropriately and we’ve had better results than some of the states that you’ve seen.’
Florida has recorded more than 42,400 coronavirus cases and 1,827 deaths to date.
Nationwide, 1,426,344 infections and 85,002 deaths have been confirmed.
The vast majority of states, including Florida, implemented forms of lockdown affecting more than 300 million Americans as the virus took hold in the US in mid-March.
DeSantis’ stay-at-home order was less restrictive than those seen in many other states as golf course were allowed to remain open and boating activities were not banned.
The governor began the first stage of his three-step reopening plan on May 4, allowing restaurants, libraries and museums to open so long as they limit capacity to 25 percent.
Some beaches were also allowed to reopen, while those in the Miami area remain closed.
On May 8, DeSantis rolled back even more restrictions, allowing barber shops and salons in parts of the state – excluding southern Florida – to welcome customers beginning this past Monday.
And on Thursday, the governor announced that he had signed off on plans for Miami-Dade and Broward counties to reopen restaurants and other businesses deemed non-essential.
Most states began gradually lifting their lockdown restrictions this month – even though some have continued to see increases in daily infections and hospitalizations – as governors are eager to restart their economies that were crippled by sweeping closures
‘Miami-Dade and Broward have both submitted plans that I’ve approved,’ DeSantis said at a press conference in Doral. ‘Today we take another important step for a very important part of the state of Florida.’
DeSantis has yet to set a date for Phase 2 of the reopening plan, which will see allow retail businesses, gyms, personal service businesses and restaurants to operate at 75 percent capacity and bars at 50 percent capacity.
Phase 3 allows for businesses to operate at full capacity but requires strict sanitation practices.
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