In Michigan, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has extended a state of emergency declaration until May 28, over the objections of Republican state lawmakers.
On Thursday, hundreds of protesters defying social distancing rules — many of them armed with assault rifles and wearing tactical gear — descended on Michigan’s state Capitol in Lansing demanding a lifting of remain-at-home orders. The crowd packed into the Capitol rotunda and tried to storm onto the floor of the legislative chamber. Lawmaker Dayna Polehanki tweeted a photo of armed men looking down from the gallery. She wrote, “Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today.”
The protests came a day after Michigan state Senator Sylvia Santana introduced a bill to ban the Confederate battle flag from display on the Capitol grounds. Last Friday, Republican lawmaker Dale Zorn wore a face mask resembling a Confederate flag to the floor of the Michigan Senate. On Wednesday, state Senator Erika Geiss called for Zorn to be formally censured.
Sen. Erika Geiss: “We cannot make progress or change by ignoring issues of race or by tolerating examples of hatred, whether overt, covert, by microaggression or by accident.”