Over the weekend of April 18, Americans across the United States filled the streets to protest stay-at-home ordinances in their states, demanding that businesses open back up so people can go back to work and jump-start the economy, despite rising COVID-19 cases across the country, with the U.S. hitting over 800,000 cases and 40,000 deaths due to the virus. Protesters across the country in states like Michigan, Colorado, Arizona, Washington and Maryland took to streets in their cars and on steps of capital buildings to protest their states stay-at-home orders.
The state of Michigan was first to protest with protesters in their cars gridlocking the streets leading up to the state capital building to protest the governor’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions. According to Al Jazeera, the New York Times and the Guardian, the Michigan protest was hosted by the Michigan Freedom Fund and the Michigan Conservative Coalition.
The Freedom Fund, according to various news outlets, has received funding from the DeVos family, the family of Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s education secretary. Many other states followed suit in protesting stay-at-home orders. In Colorado, people took to their cars waving American flags and holding signs like “Land of the Free” as they made their way through the streets and 200 protesters were gathered on the lawn in front of the state capital in Colorado.
Protesters were upset with the stay-at-home ordinance but they were met with an unlikely counter: two healthcare workers dressed in their scrubs stood in the street blocking traffic. According to the photographer, freelance photographer Alyson McClaran, who captured the pictures in Colorado, told BBC that she was capturing photos of Capitol Hill where people were not wearing masks or social distancing when she spotted the two healthcare workers standing in the middle of a Denver street. McClaran stated that the two held their ground in the street as protesters shouted comments at the pair. She also stated, “It just felt like it was two worlds colliding.” More protests have been planned, since Michigan had theirs, with states like Virginia planning one of their own, organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League.
Various states across the country have announced plans to start reopening their states, despite medical professionals and the Center for Disease Control, CDC, advising against that due to the high possibility of creating a new surge of cases. The White House announced it’s three-phase guideline for states that states a 14-day fall in new infections before a state can start to reopen.
Many states, like South Carolina and Georgia, are ignoring those guidelines and planning on reopening different businesses such as retail businesses and furniture stores. Tennessee and Ohio also have plans for reopening their states, as well. President Trump has also publicly come out and shown support of the anti-stay-at-home protesters with tweets stating, “Liberate Michigan!”
Governors across the country are still following stay-at-home guidelines put forth by the federal government and continue to enforce stay-at-home policies in their states. According to the Guardian, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan stated about the people protesting in her state, “[the people wanted to] do the wonderful American tradition of dissent and demonstration … it’s just so dangerous to do that.” Statements from the White House and federal government still urge the importance of social distancing and staying at home to curb the spread of the virus.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52371977 https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/anti-lockdown-protests-200420180415064.html https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/20/us-protests-lockdown-coronavirus-cases-surge-warning https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/21/us/politics/coronavirus-protests-trump.html