NH GOP governor cancels inauguration ceremony, citing concerns over armed anti-mask protests

NH GOP governor cancels inauguration ceremony, citing concerns over armed anti-mask protests
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New Hampshire Gov. Chris SununuChris SununuTrump praises NH Senate candidate as Sununu weighs own bid Hassan launches first ad of reelection bid focusing on veterans' issues White House welcomes fight with GOP governors over vaccine mandates MORE (R) is canceling his outdoor inaugural ceremony on Jan. 7 amid concerns over armed anti-mask protesters. 

Sununu said in a statement Wednesday that an outdoor public ceremony is too risky, noting that armed protesters have “increasingly become more aggressive, targeting my family, protesting outside my private residence, and trespassing on my property.”

The governor said that he, state Senate President Chuck Morse (R) and acting House Speaker Sherman Packard (R) will be sworn in during a small ceremony. Leaders of both chambers of the legislature will attend in person, while other members will attend virtually.

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The change comes as protesters began demonstrating outside Sununu's home on Nov. 22 over a mask mandate that had recently taken effect, according to The Associated Press. Around 100 people gathered for the first protests, and more demonstrations have occurred since then.

Police arrested one person and issued summonses to nine people on Monday under an anti-picketing ordinance passed by Newfields, where Sununu lives, the AP noted.

The mask order, which remains in place through Jan. 15, requires everyone over the age of 5 to wear face coverings “where they are unable to or do not consistently maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from persons outside their own households.” 

New Hampshire has reported 42,697 coronavirus infections as of Tuesday and 735 deaths.