Scores of protesters hit the streets to demand Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker streamline the reopening of non-essential businesses, delayed due to the lack of progress in slowing down the spread of Covid-19.
Hundreds of demonstrators filled the streets around the Massachusetts State House in Boston on Monday for what event organizers dubbed a “Liberty Rally,” voicing outrage over Baker’s decision to extend the state’s lockdown another two weeks to May 18, further putting off the reopening of nonessential businesses as hundreds of thousands of residents file for unemployment.
“Let my people go”, “We are essential workers” are some of the signs held by protestors outside of the Massachusetts State House. https://t.co/p6j0L5nf2e
— Malini Basu (@WFXTMalini) May 4, 2020
Hoisting banners and signs with slogans such as “All jobs are essential” and “Open business, close Baker,” the protesters were corralled by police on opposite ends of the main road near the state house to keep traffic flowing, however a section of the street was eventually closed down for the rally.
The event was organized by conservative activists, namely radio host Jeffrey Kuhner, who addressed the crowd warning that “America is committing national suicide” with the lockdown measures, which have thrown tens of millions of citizens out of work across dozens of states.
I see churches closed, I see an economic collapse, thousands of businesses bankrupt and shuttered – all of this for a lousy virus? For a contagious flu at the absolute worse? This Is not a pandemic.
Reporters covering the rally noted that few of the demonstrators wore masks or practiced social distancing, a fact that drew criticism from some netizens, who said the protesters were putting others at risk. A state-wide mask requirement will take effect on Wednesday, mandating that all residents wear face coverings while in public, including at outdoor parks.
We all want are life back, we have to stick together and be one team, it’s called #BostonStrong.. Those people that are protesting should all go home and learn how to social distance, and make mask and not spread the virus to each other.🙏🙏🙏
— steven (@steven08111975) May 4, 2020
Governor Baker, meanwhile, insists the state is taking a scientific and data-driven approach to reopening, arguing that “you need to see downward trends in a number of key indices associated with this virus for some period of time before you can actually reopen,” echoing federal guidelines on lifting the lockdowns. The state has confirmed nearly 4,100 fatalities and over 69,000 cases of the illness – around 1,000 on Monday alone – putting it behind only New Jersey and New York.
Massachusetts joins a long line of states where residents have grown wary of the sweeping quarantine measures, with similar protests erupting in Michigan, California, Wisconsin, Texas, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, Minnesota, among others. The angry demonstrations come after wide swaths of the US economy were shut down under the lockdowns, prompting some 30 million Americans to file for unemployment benefits since mid March.
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