Hundreds of protesters descended on the Michigan State Capitol on Wednesday to demand that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reverse her stay-at-home order and reopen the state’s economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The protest, nicknamed “Operation Gridlock,” was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition, who says Gov. Whitmer’s strategy for keeping Michigan residents safe is costing those same residents money in the process.
News footage of the protest showed some demonstrators holding signs and chanting slogans on the Capitol steps while others remained in their vehicles, blaring their horns.
WOOD TV8‘s Leon Hendrix spoke to one masked protester who said he was there to support Michigan’s businesses and “stand up for the “rights of our fellow Michiganders,” adding that he believes Gov. Whitmer has “overstepped her rights with our freedoms.”
“Are you concerned about this virus?” Hendrix asked the man who identified himself as Joseph Dixon.
“I was in the beginning until I’ve done my research and found out the realities and the media’s overreach on it and that it’s not as serious as they made it out to be, and that’s why I am here, because I feel that they are overreaching, overreacting, and crushing our small businesses, crushing our economy,” Dixon replied.
“I see you’re wearing a mask, so you must have some level of concern,” Hendrix pressed, to which Dixon replied that he was just utilizing “common courtesy.”
'GOVERNOR, OPEN OUR ECONOMY ON MAY 1 AND RESPECT OUR RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS.'
Wild scene in Lansing, Michigan as hundreds of people protest the state's stay-at-home order.
— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) April 15, 2020
Gov. Whitmer is asking Michigan residents for patience as the state works to bring the outbreak under control.
“I want you to have your freedom, I want mine too. We will get to a place where we can be with our friends and family again, where restaurants will open again, where we can go back to work safely again,” Gov. Whitmer said. “We have a few tough days ahead of us, but those days where we can resume some normalcy, they are on the horizon if we keep doing what we need to do to get past this moment.”