Militia groups in Michigan plan their return to the state capitol building on Thursday to protest Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home orders that have been enforced for virus containment purposes.
Thursday will be the next round of protests as anti-quarantine demonstrators have already flooded the state capitol building in a series of rallies, with armed and unarmed folks, many of whom have demanded the government reopen the crashed economy. The protests started around the time President Trump tweeted "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" in mid-April.
Whitmer said the planned protests make it "much more precarious" for her administration to reopen the economy. She was on ABC's "The View" on Wednesday discussing her thoughts on the upcoming protest:
Michigan Gov. @gretchenwhitmer calls some protests in her state “racist and misogynistic” and urges others “to stop encouraging this behavior because it only makes it that much more precarious for us to try to reengage our economy.” https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/K9QED6Pfbi— The View (@TheView) May 13, 2020
"These protests, they do undermine the effort, and it's very clearly a political statement that is playing out where people are coming together from across the state, they are congregating, they're not wearing masks, they are not staying six feet apart, and then they go back home into communities and the risk of perpetuating the spread of COVID-19 is real," she said. "While I respect people's right to dissent, they need to do it in a way that is responsible and does not put others at risk."
Michigan Gov. Whitmer defends her stay-at-home orders, saying “what we’re doing is working” but protests “undermine the effort.”— The View (@TheView) May 13, 2020
“While I respect people’s right to dissent, they need to do it in a way that is responsible and does not put others at risk.” https://t.co/rk34e3Tr09 pic.twitter.com/dQKFetfSyp
Gov. @gretchenwhitmer says threats made on her life and armed protests in Michigan’s capitol “certainly does” bother her.— The View (@TheView) May 13, 2020
“I respect people’s right to dissent, but that does not extend to endangering other people’s lives and we take it very seriously.” https://t.co/8fjvjxJous pic.twitter.com/NeJ3jIivMv
Whitmer has found herself in a heated debate with protesters over when the economy should reopen. In late April, several rounds of demonstrations brought people with rifles, shotguns, and pistols to the state capitol building, demanding the state legislature to lift the public health orders.
Here are several images from armed militia inside the state capitol building on April 30.
Protests in Lansing #Michigan starting to bear resemblance with militia parades in Middle East.— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) April 30, 2020
This guy brought his assault rifle to protest the 6 ft social distance guideline for #Covid19...pic.twitter.com/esRBqwTkEN
The governor's stay-at-home order is expected to be lifted in late May. But there are already new concerns that a second coronavirus wave could cause officials to extend lockdowns, which is what happened in Los Angeles on Tuesday. If Whitmer continued lockdowns, there would be no doubt that social instabilities would be seen.
According to The Guardian, Michigan attorney general, Dana Nessel, is investigating "credible threats" made on social media pages by people who have called for Whitmer's assassination. "Wonder how long till she's hit with a shotgun blast," one wrote. Another said they hope Thursday's protesters are "armed to the teeth" because "voting is too late."
Detroit News said counter-demonstrations are expected on Thursday, which could escalate tensions further, considering one group is armed.
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said state police would be closely monitoring the rally and work with law enforcement at the capitol building to ensure the safety of the governor and lawmakers.
Leadership on both sides of the political aisle have denounced the protesters' "intimidation" tactics for their use of brandishing weapons.
The Republican state senate majority leader, Mike Shirkey, said, "these folks are thugs, and their tactics are despicable. It is never OK to threaten the safety or life of another person, elected or otherwise, period."
We noted Wednesday that these so-called "thugs" protected a shop owner from getting arrested by police in Owosso, Michigan after the owner defied public health orders and opened up his barbershop.
The risk of reopening the economy too quickly could spark a second coronavirus wave, Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Senate HELP (that's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee on Tuesday. Certainly, Whitmer would enforce that if she had the opportunity, suggesting lockdowns are becoming political.
We have noted, lockdowns are quickly becoming political, quarantine extensions are already being seen in Los Angeles, this suggests that other cities, regions, and or states could follow.