Anti-lockdown demonstrators trade guns for scissors at Michigan 'haircut' protest

Hundreds of protesters turned out Wednesday to protest Michigan's stay-at-home order — and get free haircuts.

Toting signs that read "End tyranny," "Live free or die" and accusing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of "killing small businesses," demonstrators rallied outside the state Capitol in Lansing as part of "Operation Haircut."

Several barbers were in attendance, giving free trims to demonstrators. Some of the barbers and protesters were not wearing face coverings. Many of the demonstrators also stood within 6 feet of one another as they waited for their cuts.

At least three of the barbers were given citations for disorderly conduct, the state police said on Twitter.

"All individuals engaging in haircuts are being educated on the law," the police tweeted. "Those who do not comply will be cited for disorderly conduct. All citations will be forwarded to the AG’s Office for review."

The police estimated there were 350 people in attendance.

Whitmer recently extended her stay-at-home order until May 28. She said Tuesday that it was unlikely barbershops and hair salons would be given the greenlight to open anytime in the near future. Michigan has had over 52,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 5,000 deaths from the virus.

"I would love to go to get my hair done, too," Whitmer told WWMT-TV of Kalamazoo. "But the fact of the matter is, the nature of that personal service is such that it is intimate, it is close, you can’t social distance and get your hair cut.”

The event was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition, which said it was inspired by a barbershop owner whose license was suspended for refusing to close his shop. The barber, Karl Manke, attended the protest and was cutting hair.

One of the organizers, Meshawn Maddock, told WJBK-TV of Detroit ahead of the rally: "This is about our governor overreaching. It feels tyrannical what we are living under here in Michigan right now."

Despite the citations, the event was less heated than other protests at the Capitol. At one protest in April, armed demonstrators pushed into the building while the Legislature was debating an extension of Whitmer's state of emergency.

Whitmer was not in Lansing on Wednesday; she went to Midland County, where thousands of residents had to be evacuated after two dams were breached by flooding.