State Republicans, libertarian parties and Infowars are protesting local coronavirus restrictions this weekend after President Trump tweeted to “liberate” their states from stay-at-home orders.
Trump’s messaging, coupled with how quickly and well-organized these planned demonstrations bubbling up in Maryland, Utah, Texas, California, Arizona, Washington state and Colorado are, show how ideology has played a role in the national opinion of closures, though early polling suggests the activists represent a minority of Americans.
One of the groups making this argument, Reopen Maryland, hosted a drive-through fake memorial service honoring “the Maryland we knew” Saturday in Annapolis. Cars blocked streets and a chorus of horns rang.
Jim Wass, an organizer and chair of the Prince George’s County Republican Party, said Gov. Larry Hogan (R) shouldn’t push back the reopening day of May 1.
While Maryland’s protest and another planned in Arizona on Sunday are supposed to be car-only, not all of the events will be.
Protesters in Wisconsin and Nevada also gathered Saturday, some without masks or gloves, to protest their states’ restrictions.
At the steps of the Texas Capitol, people chanted “fire Fauci” at a demonstration hosted by Infowars on Saturday “to protest the authoritarian lockdown orders being imposed by petty tyrants at the local level,” according to its website.
One attendee brought her 7-year-old daughter, who carried an anti-vaccine sign.
On Sunday, demonstrators will also gather at the Capitol for Washington state, where mandatory stay-at-home restrictions are in effect until May 4.
Tyler Miller, who organized the event, told The Post that the demonstrators should wear masks and stand six feet apart but that he’s “not going to be going around with a yardstick."
He said the gathering would spread the virus “no more or less than going to work or to the grocery store or any other activity that we do in our lives.”
“This isn’t an old-fashioned chickenpox party where we are trying to get sick to get over it,” he said. “We are intending to follow all CDC guidelines as much as practical, while at the same time not sacrificing our fundamental principles of liberty and constitutional law."
While most protesters gathering in-person are able to because of loopholes in their states’ stay home orders, not all of them were able to skirt by the rules. New Jersey authorities charged Kim Pagan, one of the organizers of a planned protest in Trenton, with violating emergency orders.