A huge protest resulted in gridlocked the streets all over Lansing, Michigan.
Protesters gathered in the state’s capital, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
To obey social distancing orders, protesters stayed in their vehicles, resulting in gridlock throughout the entire city.
Some reports showed that cars were waiting on the interstate for miles just to be able to get into Lansing to joing the protest.
Michiganders were protesting against Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has imposed some of the strictest measures in the country.
She has even banned the sale of fruit and vegetable seeds as “non-essential,” but currently permits alcohol, lottery tickets, and marijuana to be sold.
“Operation Gridlock” was considered to be a huge success according to protest organizers.
See footage of the massive protest below:
Protesters are angry that Governor Whitmer doesn't have a plan to protect the livelihoods of the state's residents.
Whitmer's lock-down orders have been widely viewed as draconian.
She is even banning people from going to properties they own that aren't their primary residence.
For example, a family that lives in Detroit would be unable to go to their vacation home to escape the pandemic. They would have to stay in Detroit.
Local WILX news has more from Lansing:
"Operation Gridlock," the protest planned against Governor Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order, continues at the State Capitol Wednesday.
The protest was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition, who says Gov. Whitmer's strategy for keeping Michigan residents safe is costing those same residents money in the process.
Meshawn Maddock, a spokesperson for the group, says there has been no action from Gov. Whitmer to promote both physical and economic health while the stay-at-home order is in effect.
"There is no reason why she can't be looking at some safe ways to be opening up businesses. Instead of talking about what's essential and nonessential, let's talk about what's safe and not safe," Maddock said. "Safe businesses and safe workers need to get back to work."
Event organizers say they will have participants drive around the Capitol in their cars to adhere to the state's social distancing guidelines.
News 10 spoke with Michigan State Police who were monitoring the protest and said who said they weren't looking to make arrests, but focused on making sure people practiced social distancing and weren't trespassing, or trying to get inside of the Capitol building.
People were protesting for various reasons.
While some were angered about the economic impact, others were upset over Whitmer's policies that banned the sale of seeds.
Others claimed that Whitmer is failing to keep citizens safe.
WWJ News Radio has more details on the reasons people showed up to protest:
Organizers are protesting, among other things, what they say is irregularity in the rules that allows "dope shops" to stay open while "cigar shops" are closed. They're upset that the order applies to all of Michigan, instead of just hotspots like metro Detroit, and argue that amid a pandemic citizens can be trusted to keep themselves safe. “When did one size solve everyone’s local issues?" an organizer of the protest asked. "Governor Whitmer will put you out of business before allowing mere citizens to be responsible for their own behavior. That is madness.”
Meshawn Maddock, Chair of the 11th District Republican Committee and an organizer of the road rally noted that, "numerous outdoor jobs like landscaping, nurseries, excavation and lawn services are shut down. Heart surgeries are banned as non-essential, but abortion clinics remain open. Construction — including some road repair — is shut down, though other neighboring states aren't doing that.
One participant told Langton the loss of jobs is his main concern.
"I have quite a few friends who work in construction, landscaping and lawn maintenance, and they can't work; yet the state can work," he said. "People can go to, you know, Walmart whenever they feel like it, and gas stations."
"The amount of people on the road, it doesn't seem like that many people are actually staying home, so it seems like we're just punishing a group of people. So I'm here to protest and get back to work."
A woman at the rally expressed a similar view. "We have bills to pay," she said. "The stores open are Walmart? That's ridiculous; that's why we're here."
An online petition to remove Governor Whitmer from office has reached 200,000 signatures since Sunday.
See more eye-popping footage from Operation Gridlock below!
Protesters even began chanting, "Lock her up!"
This was a famous reference to the chants that haunted Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.
NBC News reports that the "Lock her up!" chants could be heard throughout Lansing's gridlocked streets:
Protesters could be heard chanting "Open up Michigan!" At one point, there was a "lock her up" chant in reference to Whitmer.
"We can get this rally done and stay within the social distancing guidelines,” Marian Sheridan, a Michigan Conservative Coalition co-founder, said in a statement ahead of the rally. "Citizens are frankly tired of being treated like babies. As adults, we now know what needs to be done to stay safe."
Speaking to Michigan NBC affiliate WOOD-TV, one woman attending suggested she didn't entirely trust the social distancing recommendations being made by "the so-called scientists" like Dr. Anthony Fauci, adding that she believes "very strongly in herd immunity."
Tom Norton, a Republican running to unseat Rep. Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party last year, told WOOD-TV that "the cure is worse than the disease," pointing to the impact of the shutdowns on small businesses and the potential for rising rates of depression and suicide.
The organizers' Facebook page was flooded with comments, both in support and against the protest.
"Can people PLEASE stay in their cars, and if they get out, to wear masks and practice social distancing?" one Facebook user posted. "The statists will use any excuse to discredit the protest, so please don't give them a freebie."
"The guys on the steps of the (Capitol) are putting this protest backwards," another wrote. "Now we are going to be portrayed as far right extremist. Thanks allot jerks...Stay in your dam car and put the freaking rifles away...You're going to ruin this for everyone!"
Lt. Brian Oleksyk with the Michigan State Police told NBC News that "for the majority, the protest is peaceful at this time and has been," adding that most "have been following the social distancing."
Tensions continue to grow as the reality of COVID-19 is not as bad as many of the extreme models predicted.
The death rate, for example, is lower than Italy's and the predicted shortage of ventilators never came true.
Now, more and more people are realizing that President Trump was right yet again: we cannot let the cure be worse than the virus itself!