A crowd of protesters, some armed with rifles, entered the state Capitol Thursday, demanding to be let into a legislative chamber as lawmakers deliberated an extension of the state's emergency declaration.
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. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs— Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020
Images and videos posted to social media showed a mob ignoring social distancing guidelines as they entered the building, with many not wearing masks. The protest of the emergency declaration began outside with a crowd of 800 to 1,000 people, according to a Detroit News reporter.
One protester was arrested for allegedly ripping a flag out of someone's hand, the reporter tweeted, citing state police. A Michigan Advance reporter, meanwhile, tweeted that she was "slammed in the head by a protester's rifle." Guns are allowed inside the building.
Protest moves inside Michigan Capitol. Crowd attempts to get onto Hoise floor. Lots of Michigan State Police and House sergeants at arms blocking door. pic.twitter.com/4FNQpimP4W— Rod Meloni (@RodMeloni) April 30, 2020
Inside the session, House Republicans voted to approve a lawsuit challenging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's authority to extend the state of emergency that has allowed her to issue a number of controversial edicts in response to the coronavirus crisis. Legislative approval for the order expires Thursday, with no plans for renewal.
The Republican-led Senate is expected to later pass a similar resolution.
Whitmer has said she will keep the state of emergency in place under the Emergency Powers of Governor Act, which she says can be done without legislative approval.