For three decades, Meshawn Maddock and her family have run A-1 Bail Bonds in Milford, Michigan. But just a few days ago, she said she was forced to lay off her last three employees due to courts being shuttered and jails being emptied to blunt the spread of coronavirus in the hard-hit state.
Instead of staying in her house, adhering to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders, Maddock drove 60 miles from her residence to Lansing, the state capital, to join a convoy of motorists Wednesday afternoon protesting the governor’s pandemic directive and calling on state leaders to allow small businesses to reopen so employees can get back to work.
“Nobody is denying that this is a crisis, a worldwide crisis, but we’ve also all learned to be safer. Everybody has learned a lesson in hand-washing, face touching and social distancing. And so many businesses and hobbies, and just everyday things, have been restricted by our governor,” Maddock told ABC News.
The protest kicked off at noon in downtown Lansing with what appeared to be a huge number of participants in vehicles honking horns, waving American flags and circling the capitol building.
Dubbed “Operation Gridlock,” and organized by groups including the Michigan Conservative Coalition, the demonstration jammed the streets around the capitol building. Many of the protesters, including some wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats and T-shirts supporting President Donald Trump, also displayed signs reading “Impeach Whitmer” and “My Freedom is Essential.”
While organizers asked demonstrators to stay in their cars, many lined the sidewalk outside the capitol building, some wearing protective masks but many apparently defying social distancing recommendations of remaining 6 feet apart.
A group of men identifying themselves as members of the Michigan Liberty Militia walked up and down the sidewalk outside the capitol building carrying rifles.