Home World Anti-lockdown protesters in Michigan brought rifles and weapons into the state capitol.

Anti-lockdown protesters in Michigan brought rifles and weapons into the state capitol.

On Thursday, hundreds of protesters descended on Michigan’s state capitol to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extending the state’s stay at home order another two weeks to May 15.

While Whitmer moved to extend the order telling citizens to stay home and keeping essential business shut, she also relaxed some of the original restrictions included in the order. Michigan residents are still required to practice social distancing, but are now allowed to travel between their main and second homes, go out boating, and play golf.

Protesters have demonstrated against stay-at-home orders at state capitols in dozens of states. But Thursday’s protests in Michigan were the starkest example yet of protesters actually entering a state capitol building while the legislature was in session – and bringing weapons with them.

On Thursday, Michigan health officials reported over 41,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state and 3,789 deaths, with new 980 new cases and 119 new deaths in the past day alone.

Also on Thursday, the Republican-led Michigan House of Representatives declined to formally extend Michigan’s state of emergency declaration for another 28 days like Whitmer requested, and authorized a lawsuit challenging her emergency authority.

One particularly dramatic photo shared by state Senator Dayna Polehanki showed protesters with guns menacing lawmakers in the state Senate chamber

In the Michigan Legislature, you can bring a loaded firearm into the Capitol, but cannot bring in a poster or sign. #mileg https://t.co/gmqyuEZQLc

— Mari Manoogian ???????????? (@MariManoogian) April 30, 2020

As both state Rep. Mari Manoogian and Michigan Live explained, long-standing Michigan state capitol rules explicitly prohibit people from bringing signs over fears that the sticks that often prop up signs and posters could scratch the paint on the walls.

There are no existing rules, however, barring people from bringing guns into the Michigan capitol building.

Other photos and videos shot by journalists show protesters crowding into the state capitol – and not practicing social distancing

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 Michigan Capitol right now. pic.twitter.com/wuo8AXRUM4

— Leon Hendrix (@LeonHendrix) April 30, 2020

Police and staff aren’t engaging w/ protesters and the crowd is angry pic.twitter.com/2OOJC7eQl2

— Anna Liz Nichols (@annaliznichols) April 30, 2020

Just got slammed in the head by a protestor’s rifle.

There is no care for safety or social distancing in the crowd

— Anna Liz Nichols (@annaliznichols) April 30, 2020

At the Michigan capitol building today in Lansing. Photos by Jeff Kowalsky (AFP via Getty) pic.twitter.com/Zf1QdypnNr

— Dan Zak (@MrDanZak) April 30, 2020

While the high-profile protests and backlash against Whitmer’s aggressive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 have garnered a significant amount of attention, public opinion in the state largely supports Whitmer, according to a poll released April 20 from the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Glengariff Group.

The poll, which surveyed 600 Michigan residents between April 15 and 16 with a margin of error of ± four percentage points, found that 57% of Michiganders approved of Whitmer’s handling of the crisis compared to 37% who disapproved, giving her a net approval rating of +20 percentage points.

While Republicans disapproved of Whitmer’s handling of the crisis by a margin of 89% to 8%, self-described independent voters approved of Whitmer’s performance by a margin of over 20 percentage points, 56% to 35%.

When it came to President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis, however, Michigan residents disapproved of the president’s actions by a net negative margin of six percentage points, with 44% approving and 50% disapproving – a potential concern for his re-election bid with voters in the battleground state.

Republicans approved of Trump’s handling of the crisis by a margin of 88% to 9%, while independents disapproved of Trump’s performance by a margin of 52% to 40% approving.

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