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Protesters gathered across the country on Saturday to vent frustrations at coronavirus stay-at-home measures.
Organized events in Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin took place even as the governors in some of those states have started to roll back the stay-at-home restrictions in question.
Protesters carried signs that declared their jobs “essential for them,” among other slogans that invoked constitutional rights. Many people carried American flags and wore paraphernalia with President Trump and Vice President Pence. The protests and rallies have gained support as unemployment continues to climb across the country.
Around 22 million people filed for unemployment over the past month. Only essential businesses have remained open and operational during the various stay-at-home orders across the country, leaving many without work.
The government started to send out stimulus checks this week, but several glitches and errors have made it difficult for Americans to receive their money.
Additionally, a $350 billion small business paycheck protection program has already run nearly dry. Small business owners are scrambling to find money to remain afloat.
In Ohio, perhaps the most prominent protest on Saturday, protesters called for Gov. Mike DeWine to immediately resign. DeWine extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 1, but he recently reiterated his desire to reopen the state after the order expires.
“Ohioans have done a great job, a phenomenal job, fighting back, staying home, ensuring physical distancing. We’ve been doing all the things that needed to be done. I’ve never been prouder to be an Ohioan and I’m very grateful for what you have done. You have flattened the curve,” DeWine said in a statement this week.
The protesters demand an immediate repeal of the order so they can return to work.
While some of the protests were more traditional, others followed the example of “Operation Gridlock,” which took place in Michigan earlier this week. Protesters did not stand outside buildings but instead remained in their cars.
In Maryland, drivers circled up around the capitol building in Annapolis, furiously honking their horns instead of chanting.
People lined the streets to take pictures or videos of the protests in various states, uploading them to Twitter.
The Texas “You Can’t Close America” rally followed Gov. Greg Abbott announcing a series of measures to start rolling back the stay-at-home order that has been in place for a month. Abbott is determined to get his state back to normal to avoid greater economic difficulty.
Critics have pointed out that reopening the country too soon could easily result in a second spike of the coronavirus, negating the progress made over the past month. Most governors, particularly Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, refuse to consider reopening their state until consistent, wide-scale testing is available.