Hundreds of people, some armed with assault-style rifles, stormed the Michigan Capitol building on Thursday while the legislature debated whether to extend Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown order, NBC News reports.
Protesters were able to push their way inside the legislature. Some tried to get onto the House floor but were blocked by sergeants-at-arms and state police.
The protest was organized by Michigan United for Liberty.
Like with the April 15 protest, many of the demonstrators wore pro-Trump gear.
Legislature rejects extension:
The Republican-led legislature did not vote to extend Whitmer’s lockdown order and instead voted to authorize a lawsuit against her over the coronavirus response.
“We have to be prepared to take the next steps should she not accept her offer of partnership. We have three branches of government; the executive, the legislative and the judicial,” House Speaker Lee Chatfield said. “They all have their role, even in a pandemic and this may be one where we get the third branch of government involved.”
“If she does not recognize the end of the emergency declaration, we have no other choice, but to act for our constituents,” added Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. “The Senate offered to work with our Governor to reach a compromise on the stay-at-home order, but she did not accept our offer. Now, the Michigan Senate, along with our partners in the House, will begin our work to responsibly lead our state from governance by executive order back to government where all voices are heard and considered.”
Whitmer issues executive order:
Moments after the vote, Whitmer signed three new executive orders extending the lockdown until May 28.
“COVID-19 is an enemy that has taken the lives of more Michiganders than we lost during the Vietnam War,” Whitmer said. “While some members of the legislature might believe this crisis is over, common sense and all of the scientific data tells us we’re not out of the woods yet. By refusing to extend the emergency and disaster declaration, Republican lawmakers are putting their heads in the sand and putting more lives and livelihoods at risk. I’m not going to let that happen.”
“Today I signed new emergency and disaster declarations using independent sources of statutory authority to make sure our health care workers and first responders have the tools they need to save lives and protect Michiganders,” she added. “We’re all in this together. Defeating COVID-19 is an all hands on deck moment for our state, and I remain hopeful that Republicans in the legislature will stop the partisan games and start working with me to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”