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‘Not Prisoners’: Protesters in Michigan over stay-home order

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Dozens of flag-waving, honking protesters drove past the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday to show their displeasure with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s orders to keep people at home and businesses locked during the coronavirus outbreak.

As snow fell, others got out of their vehicles and raised signs, one of which read, “Gov. Whitmer We Are Not Prisoners.” Another said, “Michigander Against Gretchens Abuses.”

The protest, called “Operation Gridlock,” was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition.

“This arbitrary blanket spread of shutting down businesses, about putting all of these workers out of business, is just a disaster. It’s an economic disaster for Michigan,” coalition member Meshawn Maddock said.

State police said they would stay on the sideline unless people could get hurt. The protest made big ripples: Traffic was barely moving around 1 p.m. nearby on westbound Interstate 496.

Whitmer extended a stay-home order through April 30 and has shut down schools and businesses deemed non-essential. The governor acknowledged the pain but said the restrictions were necessary to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which causes a respiratory illness that has killed more than 1,700 Michigan residents.

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