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'This is how Nazi Germany started': Four lockdown protesters arrested during rally in front of North Carolina governor's mansion

'If we hanged traitors like our forefathers did, we would all be at work today'

Image source: YouTube screenshot

As hundreds of lockdown protesters converged Tuesday upon Raleigh, North Carolina, demanding that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper reopen the state's economy and lift his stay at home order, four of the protesters were arrested, the News & Observer reported.

The demonstrators were handcuffed after they stepped upon the sidewalk outside the governor's mansion in violation of police instructions, the paper said.

'This is how Nazi Germany started'

ReOpenNC leader Ashley Smith was among the arrestees, the News & Observer reported. As she was being handcuffed, the 33-year-old yelled that officers were "dishonoring the flag" and that her "tax dollars" paid for the sidewalk she was standing upon.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

"This is how Nazi Germany started," her husband, Adam Smith, remarked, according to the paper. Smith used a bullhorn to call each officer outside the governor's mansion a "little piggie," the News & Observer said, adding that other protesters handed him bail money.

Before her arrest, Ashley Smith stood in a pickup truck and delivered a speech, the paper said: "We'll all go to church, we'll open our businesses, and we'll buy what we want. We will not go down gently. ... If you feel the need to stay home, it is your God-given right to do so. But we want to live!"

The other arrestees were Wendy Kath Macasieb, 53; Lisa Marks Todd, 55; and Jonathan Warren, 35, the News & Observer said. All four arrestees were charged with violation of the executive order and resisting a public officer, the paper said, adding that Warren also was charged with injury to real property.

Image source: YouTube screenshot


Image source: YouTube screenshot

What did the governor have to say?

During a Tuesday news conference, Cooper said he understands it's "frustrating to be at home so much" and knows "people with families that are hanging by a thread," the paper said, adding that despite the difficulties the time to reopen hasn't arrived.

"The thing we have to put first and foremost is the public health and safety of North Carolinians," Cooper added, according to the News & Observer. "We have to make sure that things are safe. I'm very eager to move into our phases of reopening. We have a way to look at the indicators to tell us how fast we are going to get there. I hope we move through these as quickly as possible."

Cooper announced an extension of his stay-home order until May 8, the papers said, adding that he also established benchmarks that the state must meet in order to begin relaxing the restrictions.

Counterprotesters heckled

The protesters heckled and screamed at about a dozen health care workers who counterprotested the rally with phrases such as "let us work!" and "all paychecks are essential!" the paper said.

One protester asked what happens when the food runs out — and then answered his own question: "We'll eat the health care workers," the News & Observer reported.

The paper added that one protester stood on the sidewalk where the health care workers were standing and asked police officers, "What law am I violating by standing on the sidewalk?" He then put his hands together as if preparing to be handcuffed and said, "Take me to jail for not violating the law. Take me to jail," the News & Observer said, adding that the officers walked away.

Retired nurse Deborah McNally joined the lockdown protesters and said unemployment is a greater threat than the coronavirus, the paper reported. "They don't realize there's not going to be a hospital because they're not doing elective surgeries. You can't get mammograms, you can't get colonoscopies. Everything is elective except COVID," McNally said.

'Pharaoh Cooper! Let my barber go!'

Barbers and hairdressers have been out of work due to the governor's stay-at-home order, the News & Observer said, adding that some showed up to the rally.

"Every job is essential," salon owner Danielle Wells said, according to the paper. "Every job matters."

Another protester was more direct, the News & Observer said: "Pharaoh Cooper! Let my barber go!"

Some protesters carried signs with religious themes — "Trust God not Reopening" — while others appeared to point toward violence, the paper said. One sign included an image of a handgun with the slogan "The Only Shot I'll Take" while another read, "If we hanged traitors like our forefathers did, we would all be at work today," the News & Observer noted.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Anything else?

Earlier this month, a similar rally held by lockdown protesters elicited a tweet from the Raleigh Police Department saying that "protesting is a non-essential activity."

ReOpenNC rallies at legislature, four arrested at executive mansion youtu.be

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