Coronavirus US: Anti-lockdown protests gather momentum


Anti-lockdown protests continued to gather momentum across the United States Monday as armed demonstrators waving Trump 2020 flags and ignoring social distancing rules called for America to reopen immediately.   

Crowds gathered close to one another in North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and California, calling for their ‘liberty’. Armed militia groups protested alongside young families and Americans out of work, all calling for businesses to be reopened. 

Meanwhile, Facebook has been accused of working with various state governments to limit free speech as it shuts down pages that oppose stay-at-home orders. 

Some states — mostly Republican-led ones — have relaxed restrictions, and on Monday announced that they would take further steps to reopen their economies. 

But in North Dakota, upset protesters swarmed the capitol building while carrying ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flags and signs that called for freedom.  

Alexis Wangler is a member of Health Freedom North Dakota, the group who organized the protest, said she agreed to fight stay-at-home orders as a way to exercise the First Amendment,

 She told Grand Forks Herald: ‘We want to exercise our First Amendment rights — our freedom of speech and freedom to assemble — and not have that limited by government.

‘I would say that all across the nation, the executive orders have been violating people’s rights.’ 

 

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Hundreds have protested in cities across America against coronavirus-related lockdowns — with encouragement from President Donald Trump — as resentment grows against the crippling economic cost of confinement

Columbus, Ohio: A local militia group is seen at a rally to protest the stay-at-home order amid the Coronavirus pandemic

Columbus, Ohio: A local militia group is seen at a rally to protest the stay-at-home order amid the Coronavirus pandemic 

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Hundreds have protested in cities across America against coronavirus-related lockdowns -- with encouragement from President Donald Trump -- as resentment grows against the crippling economic cost of confinement

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Hundreds have protested in cities across America against coronavirus-related lockdowns — with encouragement from President Donald Trump — as resentment grows against the crippling economic cost of confinement

Columbus, Ohio: Protesters gather outside the Ohio State House Monday to protest the stay home order in effect until May 1

Columbus, Ohio: Protesters gather outside the Ohio State House Monday to protest the stay home order in effect until May 1

She added that she believes ‘all businesses are essential and all livelihoods are essential’.

‘That’s why I said to a couple of different people, ‘do we want to say anything about this?”

In Ohio, a local militia group brandishing firearms and wearing face coverings stood outside the Ohio State House in Columbus on Monday.   

People waved Trump 2020 flags and held signs that read ‘Open Ohio’ as they implored lawmakers to loosen restrictions.  

Hundreds of people also gathered to protest the lockdown in spite of shelter-in-place rules still being in effect at the state capitol building in Sacramento, California on Monday. 

Some intentionally jammed roads while honking and holding out signs while others disrespected social distancing rules by gathering in close proximity, blaring music and shouting to end the lockdown. 

In Pennsylvania, protesters gathered to fight stay-at-home orders while Facebook faced backlash for reportedly colluding with state governments to stop anti-lockdown protests. 

‘Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook. For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook,’ a spokesperson said on the social network’s policy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Facebook officials said they reached out to states individually to understand their lockdown orders then removed posts that violated those rules.  

‘We reached out to state officials to understand the scope of their orders, not about removing specific protests on Facebook. We remove the posts when gatherings do not follow the health parameters established by the government and are therefore unlawful,’ a company spokesperson said to DailyMail.com. 

The death toll in the U.S. stood at more than 40,000 Monday evening — the highest in the world — with over 750,000 confirmed infections, by Johns Hopkins’ count. The true figures are believed to be much higher, in part because of limited testing and difficulties in counting the dead. 

Columbus, Ohio: For the third time in the last week, hundreds of protesters gathered at the Ohio State House to protest the stay home order that is in effect until May 1

Columbus, Ohio: For the third time in the last week, hundreds of protesters gathered at the Ohio State House to protest the stay home order that is in effect until May 1

Bismarck, North Dakota: Nathan Howard warns people attending a protest rally to be vigilant of their freedom, Monday

Bismarck, North Dakota: Nathan Howard warns people attending a protest rally to be vigilant of their freedom, Monday

Columbus, Ohio: Protesters are seen holding a banner that reads The cure is deadlier than the disease at a rally on Monday

Columbus, Ohio: Protesters are seen holding a banner that reads The cure is deadlier than the disease at a rally on Monday

Columbus, Ohio: People waved flags and held signs that read 'Open Ohio' as they implored lawmakers to loosen restrictions

Columbus, Ohio: People waved flags and held signs that read ‘Open Ohio’ as they implored lawmakers to loosen restrictions

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: A massive protest took place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Monday afternoon that was organized on the Facebook group 'Pennsylvanians against Excessive Quarantine Orders'

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: A massive protest took place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Monday afternoon that was organized on the Facebook group ‘Pennsylvanians against Excessive Quarantine Orders’

Facebook says it will allow protests that abide by social distancing guidelines to go forth, but will shut down the ones that defy those health orders.  

The social network said it has already removed protest messages in California, New Jersey and Nebraska at the urging of state government who said the events violated stay-at-home orders. 

The move has led to outrage from Donald Trump Jr and Republican figures like Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who claim Facebook is violating Americans’ First Amendment rights.  

Sacramento, California: A driver holds out a sign about being repressed as hundreds of people gather to protest the lockdown in spite of shelter-in-place rules still being in effect

Sacramento, California: A driver holds out a sign about being repressed as hundreds of people gather to protest the lockdown in spite of shelter-in-place rules still being in effect

Columbus, Ohio: Protesters gather to protest the stay-at-home order amid the Coronavirus pandemic

Columbus, Ohio: Protesters gather to protest the stay-at-home order amid the Coronavirus pandemic

Columbus, Ohio: Protesters gather to protest the stay-at-home order amid the Coronavirus pandemic

Columbus, Ohio: Protesters gather to protest the stay-at-home order amid the Coronavirus pandemic

Columbus, Ohio: Protesters gather to protest the stay-at-home order amid the Coronavirus pandemic

Columbus, Ohio: Protesters gather to protest the stay-at-home order amid the Coronavirus pandemic

Sacramento, California: Some people intentionally jammed roads while honking and holding out signs while others disrespected social distancing rules by gathering in close proximity, blaring music and shouting to end the lockdown

Sacramento, California: Some people intentionally jammed roads while honking and holding out signs while others disrespected social distancing rules by gathering in close proximity, blaring music and shouting to end the lockdown

Sacramento, California: Some people intentionally jammed roads while honking and holding out signs while others disrespected social distancing rules by gathering in close proximity, blaring music and shouting to end the lockdown

Sacramento, California: Some people intentionally jammed roads while honking and holding out signs while others disrespected social distancing rules by gathering in close proximity, blaring music and shouting to end the lockdown

Boeing and at least one other U.S. heavy-equipment manufacturer resumed production and some states rolled out aggressive reopening plans Monday, despite nationwide concerns there is not enough testing yet to keep the coronavirus from rebounding.

The company said it was putting about 27,000 people back to work this week building passenger jets at its Seattle-area plants, with virus-slowing precautions in place, including face masks and staggered shifts. 

Doosan Bobcat, a farm equipment maker and North Dakota’s largest manufacturer, announced the return of about 2,200 workers at three factories around the state.  

The reopenings in the U.S. are a drop in the bucket compared with the more than 22 million Americans thrown out of work by the crisis.

And in a dispute that has turned political, the president has been agitating to restart the economy, singling out Democratic-led states and egging on protesters who feel governors are moving too slowly. 

Bismarck, North Dakota: Protesters gather on the Capitol steps and grounds on Monday. The group oppose Gov. Doug Burgum's order to keep most businesses closed until at least the end of the month in an effort to contain coronavirus

Bismarck, North Dakota: Protesters gather on the Capitol steps and grounds on Monday. The group oppose Gov. Doug Burgum’s order to keep most businesses closed until at least the end of the month in an effort to contain coronavirus

Bismarck, North Dakota: Protesters swarmed the capitol building while carrying 'Don't Tread on Me' flags and signs

Bismarck, North Dakota: Protesters swarmed the capitol building while carrying ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flags and signs

A representative from Pennsylvania’s Department of General Services said the state has not heard from Facebook in regards to shutting down Facebook-organized protests. Demonstrators pictured ignoring social distancing rules as they defy Gov. Tom Wolf's lockdown on the steps of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania state capitol building Monday

A representative from Pennsylvania’s Department of General Services said the state has not heard from Facebook in regards to shutting down Facebook-organized protests. Demonstrators pictured ignoring social distancing rules as they defy Gov. Tom Wolf’s lockdown on the steps of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania state capitol building Monday

Some states — mostly Republican-led ones — have relaxed restrictions, and on Monday announced that they would take further steps to reopen their economies.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced that gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors were among businesses that may reopen Friday — as long as owners follow strict social distancing and hygiene requirements. He said that as of next Monday, movie theaters could resume selling tickets and restaurants limited to takeout orders could go back to limited dine-in service.

Texas on Monday began a week of slow reopenings, starting off with state parks, while officials said that later in the week, stores would be allowed to offer curbside service. 

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday that businesses across most of the state would begin reopening as early as next week. Both states are also led by Republicans.

But governors from many other states say they lack the testing supplies they need and warn they could get hit by a second wave of infections, given how people with no symptoms can still spread the disease.

‘Who in this great state actually believes that they care more about jet skiing than saving the lives of the elderly or the vulnerable?’ Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer remarks, referring to restrictions in place in her state. ‘This action isn’t about our individual right to gather. It’s about our parents’ right to live.’

Trump took to Twitter to complain that the ‘radical left’ and ‘Do Nothing Democrats’ are ‘playing a very dangerous political game’ by complaining about a testing shortage. At the same time, Vice President Mike Pence told governors that Washington is working around-the-clock to help them ramp up testing. 

Revealed: The three pro-gun activist brothers behind Facebook groups in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York organizing anti-quarantine protests claiming ‘politicians are forcing us to hand over our freedoms’ 

Three far-right, pro-gun brothers are behind a slew of anti-quarantine Facebook groups galvanizing protests and urging tens of thousands of followers to decry state lockdowns.  

Ben Dorr, the political director of a group called Minnesota Gun Rights and siblings Christopher Dorr, the director of Ohio Gun Owners, and Aaron Dorr, the executive director of Iowa Gun Owners are behind at least four state anti-quarantine Facebook groups with a combined following of over 200,000 members. 

The three have created Facebook groups calling for protests in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. 

While at first glance the demonstrations cropping up across the nation appear to be organic, the coordination of these brothers on Facebook means they’re actually being engineered by a network of conservative directors. 

Their activism echoes President Donald Trump’s tweets for the governors to ‘liberate’ states on coronavirus lockdowns, claiming states like Virginia have their Second Amendment rights ‘under siege’.  

The Dorr brothers appear to manage a series of pro-gun groups that range across different states from Iowa, Minnesota to New York. All seek to discredit organizations like the National Rifle Association for being too restrictive on gun safety. 

The three attended the gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia in January of this year.  

Three conservative, pro-gun brothers Ben Dorr (above), Christopher Dorr, and Aaron Dorr are running at least four massive state anti-quarantine Facebook groups urging the public to protest. Ben is the political director of a group called Minnesota Gun Rights

Three conservative, pro-gun brothers Ben Dorr (above), Christopher Dorr, and Aaron Dorr are running at least four massive state anti-quarantine Facebook groups urging the public to protest. Ben is the political director of a group called Minnesota Gun Rights

Christopher Dorr, the director of Ohio Gun Owners

Aaron Dorr

Christopher Dorr (left) is the director of Ohio Gun Owners and Aaron Dorr (right) is the executive director of Iowa Gun Owners

Ben Dorr created a Facebook group entitled Wisconsinites Against Excessive Quarantine on Wednesday, which now has over 99,000 members.  

Its description says: ‘It’s time to OPEN OUR STATE and STOP Gov Evers’ Excessive Quarantine! Politicians are on a power trip, controlling our lives, destroying our businesses, passing laws behind the cover of darkness and forcing us to hand over our freedoms and our livelihood!’  

Dorr and group members created an event for a drive-in rally at the state capital of Madison next Friday according to a Washington Post report, that has already seen hundreds of members pledge to participate.

The page also guides visitors to a website called ‘Wisconsin Firearms Coalition’ where people are encouraged to join for a fee.  Another page asking users to join a Minnesota group of the Firearms Coalition offered several rates for membership, from $35 to $1,000. 

Chris Dorr created Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine that has over 65,000 members and Ohioans Against Excessive Quarantine, which has more than 14,000 members.   

He is listed as the director for the board of Ohio Gun Owners, according to his social media.

Aaron Dorr created New Yorkers Against Excessive Quarantine group which has over 24,000 members. In the description page he wrote: While seizing power at a breathtaking pace, Andrew Cuomo is sending NY's economy into a death spiral! This is madness. We are fighting back, with action steps fro New Yorkers who want to make their voices heard'

Aaron Dorr created New Yorkers Against Excessive Quarantine group which has over 24,000 members. In the description page he wrote: While seizing power at a breathtaking pace, Andrew Cuomo is sending NY’s economy into a death spiral! This is madness. We are fighting back, with action steps fro New Yorkers who want to make their voices heard’

Chris Dorr also created the Ohioans Against Excessive Quarantine page, which has more than 14,000 members

Chris Dorr also created the Ohioans Against Excessive Quarantine page, which has more than 14,000 members

‘Chris first got involved in the fight to defend and advance our 2nd Amendment rights back in 2009 in his home state of Iowa where he helped Iowa Gun Owners get ‘Shall-Issue’ law passed in 2010,’ his biography on the Ohio Gun Owners website says. 

Aaron Dorr created New Yorkers Against Excessive Quarantine group which has over 24,000 members. 

The descriptions on all of their pages are practically identical, accusing local governors of abusing power and controlling the lives of constituents.  

Similar Facebook groups have since cropped up in Michigan, Illinois, Texas and Delaware. 

In these Facebook groups some people peddle right-wing conspiracy theories. In the Wisconsin page, members posed the theory that Governor Tony Evers imposed a lockdown to ‘appease pharmaceutical giants’.

The groups also call for ‘drive-in’ protests that practice social distancing but still express dissent towards officials.  

Chris Dorr created Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine that has over 65,000 members. All the pages had similar description pages saying: Politicians are on a power trip, controlling our lives, destroying our businesses, passing laws behind the cover of darkness and forcing us to hand over our freedoms'

Chris Dorr created Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine that has over 65,000 members. All the pages had similar description pages saying: Politicians are on a power trip, controlling our lives, destroying our businesses, passing laws behind the cover of darkness and forcing us to hand over our freedoms’

Ben Dorr created a Facebook group entitled Wisconsinites Against Excessive Quarantine on Wednesday, which now has over 99,000 members. Dorr and group members created an event for a drive-in rally at the state capital of Madison scheduled for Friday

Ben Dorr created a Facebook group entitled Wisconsinites Against Excessive Quarantine on Wednesday, which now has over 99,000 members. Dorr and group members created an event for a drive-in rally at the state capital of Madison scheduled for Friday

 

 

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