Hundreds Of Protesters, Some Armed, Stream Into Michigan Capitol

Joey Oliver

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.

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.

This article originally appeared on the Across Michigan Patch