Armed protesters gather for planned ‘judgment day’ demonstration at Michigan Capitol
Armed protesters gathered outside the state Capitol in Michigan on Thursday for planned “judgment day” demonstrations against the state’s stay-at-home order.
The protests follow previous large gatherings of activists at the Capitol.
The demonstration was organized by a conservative militia group, Michigan United for Liberty, The Associated Press reported.
On Thursday morning, roughly 200 protesters gathered in the rain, a noticeably smaller demonstration compared to previous rallies, the report added.
Authorities have described previous protests as predominantly peaceful. However, demonstrators bringing firearms inside the Capitol building in late April have led some Democratic lawmakers to consider banning guns from the premises.
This time, the Capitol was closed to the public.
Video taken from the @FOX17 facebook live this morning of the Michigan United for Liberty protests at the Capitol in Lansing.
Protest organizers say they do not condone the doll image and their protest is peaceful. pic.twitter.com/X0AVIGIV2K
— Sarah Grimmer (@SarahGrimmerTV) May 14, 2020
In one video taken from Thursday’s demonstrations, a person can be seen dangling a doll from a rope, before a tussle breaks out on the grounds outside the Capitol building, according to footage obtained by FOX17 in Michigan.
According to a report from Michigan Live, the small fight took place as one person tried to remove the hanging doll from the pole from which it was tied. Michigan police said there were no injuries and no arrests.
“We just encourage and ask everybody to be as peaceful as they can,” Erica Pettinaro, a co-founder of Michigan United for Liberty, told the AP.
She added that some incidents from previous demonstrations became a “little overly passionate” and came off a “little strong.”
Michigan’s state police director said laws would be enforced during Thursday’s protests and authorities would respond if anyone brandished weapons or violated police orders.
Many previous demonstrations have shown protesters defying state orders by gathering without masks and standing close together.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said Wednesday, “I don’t particularly want to see people congregating, period. We know that contributes to spread.”
“If people are going to come down and demonstrate, do it in a responsible way,” Whitmer added, “That’s what we ask.”
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