St. Paul, MN – Angry residents have gathered outside the Minnesota governor’s mansion on Friday to protest the state’s stay-at-home order.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz recently said that there needed to be significantly more conronavirus testing and contact tracing done on before he would consider lifting the ban on “non-essential” businesses in his state, WCCO reported.
A Facebook group called “Live Free Minnesota” organized the protest on April 17 and by early afternoon, more than 1,000 Minnesotans were in front of the governor’s mansion waving flags and signs.
“Now is the time to demand Governor Walz and our state legislators end this lock down!” the group wrote in its Facebook post, according to the Duluth News Tribune. “Minnesota’s economy must be opened for business or destroying the livelihoods of thousands of Minnesota citizens and their families may result if we don’t act quickly.”
The protest was scheduled to start at noon and last for three hours, but people began gathering on Thursday and it didn’t look as if it was ending anytime soon as three hours came to a close.
A spokesman for the group told WCCO that the models Walz was using to make his decision were “grossly inaccurate.”
They said Minnesotans were suffering from financial pressure and depression, and that communities have experienced an uptick in domestic violence since the lockdown began.
The group believes it is time to re-open the economy and ask citizens to behave responsibly, WCCO reported.
The Democratic governor’s office released a statement about the protests, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
“The Governor has said that we can’t lose our democracy during this pandemic, and this extends to people exercising their First Amendment rights,” the statement read. “We ask that for the health and safety of themselves, their families, and their fellow Minnesotans that those demonstrating exercise good social distancing behavior.”
President Donald Trump posted his support for the protesters late Friday morning.
As of Friday, 2,017 Minnesotans had tested positive for coronavirus and 111 have died, according to Bing’s COVID-19 Tracker.