Story at a glance
- Hundreds of protestors opposed to the state’s coronavirus restrictions made their way into the state Capitol building last week, some armed with long guns and brandishing racist symbols.
- The security detail was made up of local black and Latino activists.
- Protests have erupted in many states across the U.S. with people demanding coronavirus restrictions be lifted and states reopen.
A black Michigan lawmaker was escorted to the state Capitol by armed guards Wednesday, after protestors carrying long guns descended on the building last week to rally against the state’s extension of stay-at-home orders meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Michigan state Rep. Sarah Anthony, a House Democrat whose district is in Lansing, was escorted by a security detail made up of local black and Latino activists who came together after some of the armed coronavirus protestors were seen brandishing racist symbols, according to Lansing City Pulse.
As of today, Michigan has seen 45,054 COVID cases and 4,250 deaths. There’s real work to do and I’m here to work for the people...without intimidation or fear. https://t.co/7bc9Se53lc— Sarah Anthony (@SarahAnthony517) May 7, 2020
The guards, made up of at least three black men carrying large rifles, escorted Anthony to an appropriations committee meeting.
The lawmaker told City Pulse she didn’t request the help, but welcomed the security.
“We were all just appalled by the lack of support and lack of security that I had, that other legislators had, and the fact that a lot of the demonstrators last week were adorning many racist, anti-Semitic signage. I think it just triggered a lot of folks, especially African Americans,” she told the outlet.
“The majority of the protestors were white,” Anthony told City Pulse. “I’m still not exactly sure on the connection between the confederate flags and Nazi symbolism. They just had no connection to the stay-at-home orders. The fact they were carrying guns openly while we voted was unnerving.”
Anthony posted video from the April 30 protest against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extension of the statewide stay-at-home order to Facebook, prompting Michael Lynn Jr., a black Lansing firefighter and community activist, to organize the security detail for the legislator.
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“I could hear the fear in her voice during that protest,” Lynn told City Pulse. “It was the visual of her being that scared to go to work. It meant we had to do something. We came out here today to make sure we could provide some protection, even if it’s only just to make her feel better.”
The “American Patriot Rally” started on the statehouse steps and included members of the Michigan Liberty Militia, who were armed with weapons and wore tactical gear with their faces partly covered, according to the Associated Press (AP).
They made their way into the Capitol with several hundred protestors and some carried guns inside, which are allowed in the statehouse.
Protests have occurred in many states across the U.S. with people demanding coronavirus restrictions be lifted and states reopen.
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