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A small group of protesters gathered in Virginia’s Capitol Square in Richmond on Thursday to voice their displeasure with Gov. Ralph Northam’s move to extend the state’s lockdown orders until May 8 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The protest wasn’t as large as other rallies against shutdown orders in other states in recent days — but about 15 to 20 people amassed outside the state capitol building as part of the “End the Shutdown” rally.
The only drama from the event, which lasted about 45 minutes, was police advising the crowd and the assembled journalists to maintain social distancing or face being issued a summons.
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The Virginia rally is the latest sign of a growing movement across the country – mainly led by conservative supporters of President Trump – to demand governors reopen “nonessential businesses” and send people back to work in an effort to turn around an economy that has been in a nosedive in recent weeks because of the pandemic.
On Wednesday, hundreds of cars, trucks and SUVs descended on Michigan’s state capital Wednesday afternoon as part of a noisy protest against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s social-distancing restrictions that critics say have gone too far.
Dubbed “Operation Gridlock” and organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition, the protest did just that – creating bumper-to-bumper traffic throughout downtown Lansing as demonstrators blasted their horns, waved Americans flags and hoisted placards deriding Whitmer’s orders and demanding that she reopen the state’s economy.
“Operation Gridlock” is just one of a number of demonstrations of civil disobedience around the country by Americans upset with their state’s stay-at-home orders amid the pandemic. While the contagion has sickened more than 610,000 people in the U.S. and killed over 26,000 people, protesters from North Carolina to Wyoming said they’ve been just as concerned with the economic and financial impact from shutdowns – echoing President Trump’s complaint that “the cure” could be worse than the virus.
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Also on Wednesday, a number of people gathered outside the Kentucky Capitol building to protest Gov. Andy Beshear’s shutdown orders.
Last Thursday, dozens of protesters carrying placards and wearing Guy Fawkes masks ignored Ohio’s social-distancing guidelines to demonstrate on the steps of the state’s capital building in Columbus against Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, and his administration’s handling of the outbreak. Demonstrators held signs reading “Open Ohio,” “Quarantine worse than virus,” and “Social distancing or social conditioning. We do not consent.”
In Wyoming, about 20 gathered last week in a park in Casper to protest the government-mandated measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus and let people go back to work, while a Facebook group called “ReOpen NC” has brought in over 21,000 members since it launched last Tuesday; it’s planning to gather in protest later this week.
Similar protests are scheduled to take place in Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Wisconsin.
Fox News’ Patrick Ward contributed to this report.
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