State News

Video: Armed protesters mob Michigan Capitol to fight stay-home order

April 30, 2020, 3:18 PM by  Violet Ikonomova

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.

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.

In addition to weapons, some protesters brought swastika signage and Confederate flags.

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.

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