MICHIGAN — Hundreds of people, some of them armed and wearing bulletproof vests, brought their protests inside the state Capitol building Thursday as state police prevented them from entering the chamber where lawmakers gathered to decide whether to extend Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency declaration.
Guns are permitted inside the building, and protesters entered to express their anger with Whitmer’s handling of the coronavirus.
The House rejected a measure extending the state's emergency declaration by 28 days.
The Republican-led Michigan House voted to end the emergency declaration, hoping to force the governor to agree to a bill that would extend the stay-at-home order but would also create a timeline to reopen.
Whitmer's emergency declaration expires at midnight Thursday, setting up a fight between state lawmakers and the governor, who believes she can extend it without their approval.
According to reports, more protesters chanted, "Let us in," while standing outside House chambers.
Disappointing day in Michigan House. If you want to protest, leave the semiautomatic at home. Unless you want to spread fear, that is, in which case you’re a terrorist who should be arrested immediately. #MichiganProtest
— G.S. Haveman (@Namevah) April 30, 2020
Multiple armed gunmen storm Michigan’s State House, State police are protecting @GovWhitmer and blocking the gunmen from gaining access to the house floor. This is America in the age of Trump. pic.twitter.com/tLWR2bvjtR
— Rob Gill (@vote4robgill) April 30, 2020
The extension would have allowed Whitmer to continue with stay-home orders, which she first issued March 24. As of Thursday, Michigan reported having more than 41,000 cases of the virus.
Some Michigan residents, also frustrated with Whitmer's use of executive orders, began protesting earlier in April, with "Operation Gridlock." Several similar protests have taken place around the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.