“Operation Gridlock” is underway at the Michigan State Capitol, with thousands of cars jamming the roads in Lansing to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, one of the most restrictive in the country.
The operation, organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition (MCC), directed protesters to stay in their cars and circle the capitol, honking their horns. Live shots on Fox News showed thousands of cars stacked up around the statehouse. Some protesters sported signs that said, “tyranny worse than the virus” and “honk if you love liberty.”
Thousands of people from all over Michigan are converging on our state Capitol today to protest the governor’s restrictive “Stay Home” order and get their voices, and car horns, heard. #OperationGridlock pic.twitter.com/bgjH4wKCUQ
— MI House Republicans (@MI_Republicans) April 15, 2020
“Our Governor and her allies are infecting ALL of us with their radical, progressive agenda,” MCC said on its Facebook page organizing the protest. “Dope stores? Open. Abortion clinics? Open. Churches? Shut down. Local businesses? Going broke!”
Whitmer came under fire this week after issuing an expansive new order to lock down state residents during the coronavirus pandemic, requiring larger stores to close sections containing items she deemed “non-essential,” and banning gatherings “of any size” — public or private.
Meshawn Maddock, a MCC spokesman, told local TV affiliate News 10 that Whitmer’s order is overly restrictive and highly damaging to businesses.
“There is no reason why she can’t be looking at some safe ways to be opening up businesses. Instead of talking about what’s essential and nonessential, let’s talk about what’s safe and not safe,” Maddock said. “Safe businesses and safe workers need to get back to work.”
“Citizens are frankly tired of being treated like babies. As adults, we now know what needs to be done to stay safe,” Marian Sheridan, a co-founder of MCC, said in a statement.
Whitmer, though, asked state residents to be patient.
“I want you to have your freedom, I want mine too. We will get to a place where we can be with our friends and family again, where restaurants will open again, where we can go back to work safely again,” Whitmer said. “We have a few tough days ahead of us, but those days where we can resume some normalcy, they are on the horizon if we keep doing what we need to do to get past this moment.”
The coronavirus has infected at least 27,000 Michigan residents and killed more than 1,700 since March 10, although new cases appear to have plateaued.
Meanwhile, four Michigan residents have filed a federal lawsuit against Whitmer and her executive order.
“It’s taking a sledge hammer to an ant,” said attorney David Helm, who is representing the residents, according to FOX-2 in Detroit. “We believe it is over-broad and over-reaching. There is a way to do it appropriately without infringing on Constitutional rights like the governor has.”
“Our position is, ordering businesses to shut down, preventing residents and citizens from accessing their second homes, within the state is essentially a taking and they need to be compensated for it,” Helm said. “We are not arguing for political dissidence or any sort of protest. What we are saying is that people have the right to associate with their friends and family. And that is being unjustly infringed.”