A large crowd of Second Amendment protesters descended on Kentucky's state Capitol over Memorial Day weekend, demonstrating and hanging Gov. Andy Beshear (D-Ky) in effigy.
Domestic terrorists in Frankfort, Kentucky hung Gov. Andy Beshear in effigy outside the state capitol on Sunday. A… https://t.co/51OEHLmOoN— Josh Nelson (@Josh Nelson)1590415304.0
What are the details?
According to the Louisville Courier Journal, at least 100 demonstrators visited Frankfurt on Sunday for a "Patriot's Day" protest.
The protest, organized by Facebook group Take Back Kentucky, was initially intended to defend the Second Amendment, but later turned into a protest to condemn Beshear's statewide coronavirus restrictions.
Protesters chanting "Resign, Andy!" and "Come out, Andy!" visited the Capitol building, but later made their way to the governor's mansion armed with signs that read "My rights don't end where your fear begins" and "Abort Beshear from office."
The protest took a turn for the dramatic when several of the protesters hung an effigy of the Democratic governor from a tree while blasting Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." over a public address system.
The effigy bore a sign that read "sic semper tyrannis," which roughly translates to "thus always to tyrants." The Latin phrase was popularized by John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated former President Abraham Lincoln.
Videos of the incident went viral on social media, prompting many people on both sides of the aisle to cry out in disgust.
'Reprehensible' | Kentucky governor hung from tree in effigy www.youtube.com
What was the response?
On Twitter, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted the protest.
He wrote, "As a strong defender of the First Amendment, I believe Americans have the right to peacefully protest. However, today's action toward Governor Beshear is unacceptable. There is no place for hate in Kentucky."
.@SenateMajLdr: “As a strong defender of the First Amendment, I believe Americans have the right to peacefully prot… https://t.co/3LMP59Py1r— Senator McConnell Press (@Senator McConnell Press)1590368852.0
Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams (R) issued similar remarks.
"I condemn it wholeheartedly," he tweeted. "The words of John Wilkes Booth have no place in the Party of Lincoln."
This is disgusting and I condemn it wholeheartedly. The words of John Wilkes Booth have no place in the Party of Li… https://t.co/S9qthetqBM— KY Sec. of State Michael G. Adams (@KY Sec. of State Michael G. Adams)1590357540.0
Kentucky House Democratic Leader Joni Jenkins, House Democratic Caucus Chair Derrick Graham, and House Democratic Whip Angie Hatton issued a joint statement about the incident.
"Hanging Governor Beshear in effigy is beyond reprehensible, and yet it is also the logical conclusion of the hateful rhetoric we saw touted on the Capitol grounds earlier this month that was implicitly condoned by elected representatives from the legislature's majority party," the statement read.
"Doing this in front of our Capitol, just a short walk from where the Governor, First Lady, and their two young children live, is an act that reeks of hate and intimidation and does nothing but undermine our leading work to battle this deadly disease and restore our economy safely," the statement concluded. "We call on all elected officials to condemn these actions and pledge to work to eliminate dangerous hateful speech."
Image source: YouTube screenshot
Has Beshear's office responded?
A spokesperson for Beshear condemned the protest in a statement.
"The act that was displayed on Capitol grounds today, near where the Governor and his young children live, was wrong and offensive," the spokesperson said. "This type of behavior must be condemned. As Kentuckians, we should be able to voice our opinions without turning to hate and threats of violence. Put simply — we are and should be better than this."