Hundreds of protesters, some armed with guns, entered Michigan's state Capitol in Lansing on Thursday objecting to Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer's request to extend emergency powers to combat COVID-19.
Police allowed more than a hundred protesters to peacefully enter the Capitol, where they crammed shoulder-to-shoulder and sought access to legislative chambers, some carrying long guns, few wearing face masks.
People had their temperature taken by police as they entered. Inside, they sang the national anthem and chanted: "Let us work."
State authorities have warned that protesters could be ticketed for violating social-distancing rules. Police didn't appear to be enforce that during Thursday's protest.
The mayor of Lansing on Wednesday said that he was "disappointed" protesters would put themselves and others at risk
Democratic Michigan representative Rashida Tlaib condemned the protest in a strongly-worded tweet, writing:
"Black people get executed by police for just existing, while white people dressed like militia members carrying assault weapons are allowed to threaten State Legislators and staff."
State legislative approval of Whitmer's state of emergency declaration is set to expire after Thursday.
She had asked for a 28-day extension, though Republican lawmakers in control of the statehouse instead voted on bills to replace the state of emergency and her executive orders.
Whitmer is likely to veto moves to limit her authority, and state Democrats denounced the Republican efforts as political theater.