LANSING, Mich. - Another wave of critics arrived in Lansing Thursday afternoon to protest decisions by the Michigan Governor to restrict business and travel in the state.
A day before Gretchen Whitmer's state of emergency was set to expire, hundreds of people congregated on the lawn of the capitol building brandishing signs that said "Shut down the lockdown" and "No work no freedom." Others wore the "Don't Tread On Me" flag as a cape. Others chanted, "Lock her up," a reference to the governor. Supporters of President Donald Trump were in the crowd.
Whitmer has indicated she plans to extend the emergency declaration for another 28 days, much to the consternation of GOP leadership which argues an approval vote is needed to extend the emergency.
Under the declaration, the Democratic governor has issued dozens of executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, which has been rocked by one of the highest rates of transmission in the country.
The last time protests broke out on the capitol lawn was more than two weeks ago during 'Operation Gridlock' when several thousand cars jammed up roads in Lansing and hundreds congregated on the lawn - breaking the social distancing guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Amid the political turmoil in Lansing is positive news that COVID-19's spread in Michigan has been slowed. While cases are beginning to climb in other parts of the state, Southeast Michigan which hosts more than 70% of COVID-19 cases has seen a plateauing in new daily cases and deaths.
In response to the slowdown, Whitmer has relaxed restrictions on some nonessential jobs like lawn care and bike repairs, as well as on traveling between residences. She also plans to allow residential and commercial construction projects to continue May 7.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.