In response to demonstrations at the state capital by protestors angered at the statewide shutdown in Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer pointed out the number of outwardly racist symbols used to validate their reasoning.
For several weeks, groups of people have been showing up at the capitol building in Lansing to pressure Whitmer into reopening the state as other state leaders have done in Georgia and Texas. Whitmer, however, continues to reiterate the number of COVID-19 related deaths and pushes the need for social distancing guidelines to prevent coronavirus spread.
While many waved American flags and Trump supporting banners, there were several protestors who proudly embraced far right wing ideologies by carrying Confederate battle flags, and brandishing swastikas and nooses. Last week a group walked into the building holding semiautomatic weapons.
Also, in a display meant to mock Whitmer and her orders, two children performed a dance routine, one wearing a darkened Barack Obama mask. While demonstrators have called it a “Reopen Michigan” movement, it is not clear if all of them were actually from the state.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Whitmer said that “some of the outrageousness of what happened at our Capitol depicted some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history in this country.”
Whitmer has balked at the feverish protests, even issuing a new mandate that businesses like theaters, restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms and other enterprises remain closed until May 28, according to the Lansing State Journal.
President Donald Trump, however, has voiced support for the protesters, saying Whitmer should “give a little” and called them “very good people,” which has been compared to his “very fine people” on “both sides” quotes during a 2018 protest in Charlottesville, Virginia by white supremacists that cost a young woman her life.
At least one incident in Michigan over coronavirus mitigation has turned deadly after a security guard at a Family Dollar store in Flint was shot in the head on Saturday after telling a woman that her daughter had to wear a mask in the store.
According to MLive.com, the woman left the store and came back with her husband and son to confront the guard. In the ensuing argument, 43-year old Calvin James Munerlyn was fatally wounded.
Statewide, there are more than 43,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 4,000 deaths. About 32 percent of those cases are African American as are 41 percent of the deaths, according to current state government figures.