Protesters Converge on Michigan Capitol

Demonstrators drove thousands of vehicles to Lansing, Michigan, in protest of Governor Whitmer’s stay-at-home order to flatten the rising curve of COVID-19 cases.

Several thousand cars were there to create a traffic jam in the downtown area. There were 100 to 150 people on the lawn of the Capitol, many of them passing closely by one another, and very few wearing masks.

By 3:00 there had been one arrest on suspicion of assault, and no injuries.

Justin Heyboer of Alto, an owner of Wildwood Family Farms, said his family has been in business for four generations and the order is financially crippling on several fronts. The company does landscaping, has greenhouses, hosts weddings and has a liquor license, he said.

Heyboer said this was the business’s busiest time of year, stating, “I’d rather die from the coronavirus than see a generational company be gone.”

Heyboer later said he feels very strongly about the stay-home order but wished he had chosen different words to express that.

Meshawn Maddock, a board member of the Michigan Conservative Coalition, the nonprofit group that organized the protest, said the demonstration should send a strong message to the governor that it is time to allow Michiganders to return to work, in cases where they can do so safely.

Maddock stated the order has created difficulties for those with non-COVID illnesses and other wide-ranging effects.

“It feels like the governor is doing this more almost like a publicity stunt,” Maddock said. “It also feels like she’s mocking Michiganders.”

Republicans have criticized Whitmer for making television appearances where she has criticized Trump, and have accused her of auditioning for the role of Joe Biden’s prospective VP.

While the state’s infection numbers appeared to flatten over the weekend, both infection and death numbers went back up on Tuesday, and on Wednesday new cases reported were 1,058 and 153 deaths. Health officials have been cautiously optimistic that the curve is flattening, but added that it is too soon to say that in Michigan.

This story is at the Detroit Free Press.