2500 March Against the Covid Rouge in Washington, New Jersey Charges Protest Leader
"New Jersey hasn't been shy about breaking up gathering and charging individuals"
Editor’s note: At 2500 this was the 2nd largest protest against the Covid Pol Pots in the world and the largest protest on foot. Only the 7,000-strong protest in Michigan was bigger but in that one most stayed in their vehicles.
An estimated 2,500 people rallied at the Washington state capitol on Sunday to protest Democratic Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order to limit the spread of coronavirus, defying a ban on gatherings of 50 or more people.
Despite pleas from rally organizers to wear face coverings or masks, many did not.
Police estimated the crowd at 2,500, making it one of the largest protests in U.S. states against lockdowns over the past week. In Olympia, hundreds gathered in close quarters on the steps of the capitol building and around a fountain, contravening state and federal health guidelines during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Shutting down businesses by picking winners and losers in which there are essential and non-essential are violations of the state and federal constitution,” rally organizer Tyler Miller, 39, an engineer from Bremerton, Washington, and a Republican precinct officer, told Reuters.
Protesters drove vehicles to the state capitol, honking horns and clogging streets.
‘RISKING ALL HAZARDS’
“There is no question whatsoever the defense of liberty means risking all hazards,” Miller said, paraphrasing a John Adams quote. “The American Revolution was fought at the height of the smallpox epidemic. Our founders were very aware of these sorts of risks.”
Crowds remained on the capitol grounds after the scheduled finish of the rally, but Washington state police did not issue any citations, said spokesman Chris Loftis.
New Jersey charged an organizer Friday for violating Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order, as small gatherings continue to pop up to protest state stay-at-home orders—following President Trump’s tweets encouraging people to “liberate” three Democratic-led states.
According to a report from the state’s attorney general, “Kim Pagan of Toms River was charged by the New Jersey State Police with violating the emergency orders by organizing a prohibited event today in Trenton in which protesters gathered outside the State House and at other locations”
New Jersey hasn’t been shy about breaking up gathering and charging individuals, but the violation comes amid a smattering of anti-lockdown gatherings in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Texas, Utah and Washington.
Twitter on Saturday additionally suspended the account Owen Shroyer of Infowars, as the right-wing conspiracy theory show host was promoting in-person rallies in Austin on Saturday.
The gatherings started to bubble up after conservative action groups in Michigan Wednesday organized in front of empty state buildings and blocked traffic to protest Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order.
Fox News hosts supported the actions, and on Friday, Trump urged supporters to “liberate” three Democrat-led states.
Protesters, many armed, have carried “Make America Great Again” and “Heil Witmer” (sic) posters, the Confederate flag and a sign that reads “No mandatory vaccines” carried by a seven-year-old in Austin.
Among those who criticized Trump for his “liberate” tweets was Washington Governor Jay Inslee to issue a statement saying the tweets are “unhinged” and encouraged “illegal and dangerous acts.” And Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican former governor of New Jersey and a Bush cabinet member, warned the calls could lead to riots, and: “No one has done more to undermine our constitution and destroy our country’s values than @realDonaldTrump.”
Just the beginning.