More than 200 demonstrators, some armed, returned to Michigan's Capitol on Thursday for a rainy protest of the state's stay-at-home orders during the pandemic. Social distancing guidelines were ignored by the protesters, as well as some members of the media, the Detroit Free Press reports. Two of the first three speakers wore face masks, but most in the crowd did not. Some protesters carried weapons. "The fact of the matter is the Michigan Capitol is one of the few in the country where people can come bearing guns," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday. "What we anticipate seeing tomorrow is people using those guns to intimidate others." No arrests were reported during the event. The protests have not stopped Whitmer from extending the state of emergency in Michigan.
Michigan United for Liberty organized the protest, which included counterprotesters. "Don't do what she says," said Erica Pettinaro, a co-founder, per Fox News. "She doesn't care about the Constitution of the United States of America." Some speakers expressed disdain for both political parties but said the Republicans are slightly better. Other causes were represented, as well, by protesters against abortion rights, and people wearing Trump 2020 clothing or carrying a sign reading, "Free Flynn, Free MI." The governor's order is in effect through May 28. "The fact of the matter is, these protests—in a perverse way—make it likelier that we are going to have to stay in a stay-at-home posture," Whitmer said this week. (Whitmer had decried symbols of racism at a past protest.)