Liberate! protesters gather around the nation against stay-at-home orders


Photo courtesy of Photo by Lorie Shaull via Wikimedia under Creative Commons License

Protestors gather around Governor Tim Walz’s (D-MN) residency.

Joseph Triolo, Staff Writer

Many states have seen a rise in protests against the stay-at-home orders in April. These protests are known as Liberate! protests. The goal of the Liberate! protests are to reopen the country by ending the restrictions placed upon citizens to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

A large group of the protestors were seen carrying “Make America Great Again” signs, along with other Trump attire. Other signs could be read saying “Jesus is my vaccine”, “Don’t tread on us”, and “Give me liberty, or give me COVID-19”, just to name a few. 

Some protestors marched around with firearms and bulletproof vests. Most of the protestors gathered around statehouses. In one image, protesters could be seen breathing on the glass of the Ohio statehouse. In states across the country, protesters could be seen flocking around their own governor’s residences.

Many protestors gathered physically together, closer than the CDC recommended six feet, disregarding the White House’s recent guidelines. 

On April 17, 2020, President Donald Trump lashed out against recently imposed stay-at-home orders by endorsing the recently began Liberate! Protests on Twitter by stating, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN”, “LIBERATE MINNESOTA”, and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd ammendment. It is under siege!” 

Trump’s endorsement of the Liberate! protests came directly after he stated that he will allow the governors to decide when to reopen the states. That was a reversal of his previous policy which was that he was the sole person to decide when the nation would reopen, which many governors and analysts pointed out was unconstitutional.

When asked about the protestors, President Donald Trump responded, “I watched a protest and they were all six feet apart. I mean, it was a very orderly group of people.”

Along with not staying separated, many protestors disregarded CDC and White House guidelines of wearing face masks in public spaces where staying six feet apart is not possible. 

In Kentucky, the health department saw their largest single day increase in cases of COVID-19 following the protests. According to the KDPH (Kentucky Department of Public Health), they saw an increase of 173 new cases the following day, and 579 new cases over the following week. Their past single day record was 124.

When Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) was asked about the Liberate! protests in Michigan, in a Washington Post interview, she said, “To see people come from across the state and converge and congregate and then go back into different parts of the state is very concerning because I know the purported rationale for it was because they do not like the stay-at-home order. That activity might necessitate lengthening the stay-at-home order because if they brought COVID-19 into parts of the state where it was not prevalent, that is going to be a problem for us to reengage at the earliest moment.