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Protesters storm Michigan state Capitol demanding end to coronavirus lockdown


Some demonstrators entered the building carrying firearms

Image source: WDIV-TV Twitter video screenshot

Well over a thousand protesters demonstrated at the Michigan Capitol building on Thursday in an effort to stop the extension of the state's COVID-19 lockdown, which is set to expire at midnight.

The state's Republican-led House of Representatives adjourned with lawmakers agreeing to allow Michigan's state of emergency to expire, but Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vowed to extend her stay-at-home order unilaterally.

What are the details?

WDIV-TV reported that the daylong protest began outside in the morning in the pouring rain before being moved inside the Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, where demonstrators — some of whom were armed — sought to enter the chambers of the House, but were blocked by State Police troopers and House sergeants-at-arms.

According to MLive, participants stood in front of the chamber while chanting, "Let us in. Let us in."

Protesters, some carrying guns, descend on Michigan Capitolwww.youtube.com

Gov. Whitmer has faced numerous protests and lawsuits over her restrictive shutdown measures amid the coronavirus pandemic, and she asked the legislature to extend her 28-day emergency order for another 28 days. But lawmakers refused on Thursday, and instead passed Senate legislation limiting the governor's emergency powers, which she promised to veto.

Whitmer also vowed to extend the mandates herself, saying she has the authority to do so on her own accord.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield told WDIV that the issue could end up in court.

"We extended our hand in partnership, but should she not accept that and overstep her constitutional bounds, we also authorized myself, on behalf of the House of Representatives, to file a lawsuit," Chatfield said. "We have three branches of government in Michigan — executive, judicial and legislative — and this may have to be settled in court."

Anything else?

Far-left U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D), who represents Michigan's 13th District, reacted to the protests by tweeting, "Black people get executed by police for just existing, while white people dressed like militia members carrying assault weapons are allowed to threaten State Legislators and staff. Our gun laws are so broken."

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