With over a million COVID-19 cases and 63,861 fatalities, USA is the worst-hit country in the present pandemic. To curb virus' spread, US states imposed varying degrees of lock-down, bringing economic activity to a freezing halt.
Although protests against coronavirus lock-down, were witnessed in several states, a disturbing one took place in Michigan on Thursday, April 30, when hundreds of demonstrators, including some wielding weapons, entered the statehouse to demand an end to the lock-down.
What do we know about Michigan protests?
Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gathered at Michigan capitol, with few wielding arms and none practising social distancing. "Just got slammed in the head by a protestor's rifle. There is no care for safety or social distancing in the crowd," tweeted journalist Anna Liz Nichols, who covered the protests. Several senators wore bulletproof jackets, tweeted senator Dayna Polehanki.
Thursday's protest, called 'American Patriot rally' called for state businesses to reopen on May 1 in violation of state orders, BBC reported. "Let us in!", "Let us work", they chanted, to allow them to enter the state capitol, where legislators discussed the prospect of extending lock-down, beyond May 15. "This is the people's house, you cannot lock us out," was another slogan raised at the protest.
They held signs, filled with insults for Michigan's governor, Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, who extended stay-at-home order, till May 15, earlier in April. "Tyrants get the rope", was one such signs seen at the demonstration. Several pro-Trump signs were also spotted.
US President Donald Trump seems to have put his weight behind such anti-lockdown protests. "LIBERATE MICHIGAN," he tweeted on April 17, two days after, a similar, but larger protest took place in the state. The Republican president is in a hurry for the states to loosen restrictions, for the economic activities to resume, as that will have a huge impact on his chances of getting re-elected.
Michigan has been hit hard by novel coronavirus pandemic. As on Friday, May 1, the state has witnessed over 41,000 cases and 3,789 deaths due to COVID-19.