Maine lawmaker to protest coronavirus restrictions in front of governor's mansion

Maine lawmaker to protest coronavirus restrictions in front of governor's mansion

A Maine lawmaker is planning to join protesters next week who are demonstrating against the state’s stay-at-home order as similar protests play out across the country against state and local social distancing measures.

State Rep. Chris Johansen (R) said he wants to Gov. Janet Mills (D) to ease some of the restrictions she put on local businesses that have been forced to close after being declared non-essential.

Johansen is currently hosting an event on Facebook calling Mainers to circle the governor's residence in Augusta to join the “Re-Open Maine” Convoy and Parade.

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“The 1st amendment enshrines our Right to peaceably assemble, our Right to freedom of speech, and our Right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” he wrote on the page. “Let’s peacefully assemble to speak and petition Gov. Mills with this message: We are ready to ‘Re-Open Maine’ and Get Back to Work.” 

Johansen told The Press Herald that as many as 200 people have said they want to join him in his march to the state house. The Republican lawmaker said he thinks Mills’s restrictions are no longer needed in rural areas of the state that have minimal COVID-19 cases. 

“When it first happened, it was probably reasonable but we need to adjust it now,” Johansen said. “More than half the state of Maine has no cases.”

Johansen’s event follows protests across several states against social distancing orders that have shuttered a string of non-essential industries.

Those protesters got a boost of support Friday, when President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE appeared to back the demonstrations in Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia. The apparent endorsement from Trump contradicted his own policy leaving the decision to roll back restrictions up to governors and advice from his own health officials, who have warned it is far too early to ease the orders.