Huge demonstration demands end to stay-home order in US state of Michigan

Washington: Thousands of residents staged a protest in the US state of Michigan to demand their right to “liberty”, calling for an end to the stay-home order implemented by Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer, which they called “excessive”.

Thousands of vehicles with US flags and election banners for President Donald Trump and other signs drove through the streets of state capital Lansing on Wednesday as part of the “Operation Gridlock” protest organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and convened via the social networks, reports Efe news.

The private and commercial vehicles converged on the area around the state capitol building, with the drivers coming from the most conservative parts of the state to express their discontent with the self-isolation measures implemented by Whitmer and designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Some of the signs read “Liberty once lost is lost forever”, “Recall Whitmer” and “Reopen Michigan now”, and one group of protesters displayed another sign reading “Security without liberty is called prison”.

Very few of the protesters were wearing the facemasks recommended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and many were not keeping the recommended six-foot distance between each other.

The Michigan Conservative Coalition on its Facebook page said that Whitmer and her allies are “infecting ALL of us with their radical, progressive agenda”.

Among the measures that have irked some Michigan residents is the ban on travelling to vacation homes and using motorized boats and the closure of areas considered to be non-essential in large stores, like the furniture, garden and paint departments.

In addition, Michigan authorities have instructed all stores to limit the number of people allowed inside and any establishment violating the requirements could face fines or misdemeanor charges.

Whitmer had instructed Michigan residents on March 23 to stay at home and maintain social distancing, and those instructions had been scheduled to remain in effect until last Thursday, although she decided to extend them to April 30 and to tighten them.

In remarks to local media, Whitmer saidon Wednesday that her state was in third place among US states in terms of confirmed Covid-19 cases despite the fact that it is nowhere near the third largest state in population.

According to Michigan government figures, 28,059 confirmed coronavirus cases have been detected in the state and 1,921 people have died.

The US has reported a total of 639,628 coronavirus cases, while the death toll stands at 30,925, according to the latest update by the Washington-based Johns Hopkins University.

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