Protesters in Michigan demonstrate against stay-at-home order

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Michigan State Police says claims that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was trapped inside the Capitol building by demonstrators protesting against her stay-at-home order are false.

Roughly 400 to 700 people descended on the state Capitol today, according to Michigan State Police.

The capitol was open to the public today, but due to social distancing rules in place, only 275 individuals were allowed inside at a time, with certain sections of the building being closed off, according to Lt. Brian Oleksyk.

Oleksyk said it was a very peaceful protest, “they were chanting peacefully and that was it.”

State Police made one arrest, which took place outside of the Capitol, where one protester had assaulted another, Oleksyk said.

All protesters had dispersed by 5 p.m., as had most of the police detail that was there to assist with the crowd. 

Both the House and Senate were in session Thursday, according to the Detroit Free Press. 

Michigan Sen. Dayna Polehanki had tweeted this afternoon, saying that protesters were directly above her, “men with rifles yelling at us.”

“Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today,” Polehanki’s tweeted.

Michigan Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich’s said while he encourages “people to voice their disagreements with their government,” this is not what happened today.

“This protest wasn’t about the stay-at-home order, it was an opportunity for a small group of folks – very few of whom were engaging in social distancing or wearing masks – to show off their swastika posters, confederate flags, nooses hanging from cars and signs calling for murder. Threatening Capitol police, staff, press, and elected members is not how we do business here in Michigan,” Ananich said in a statement. “We support robust debate and we support both the first and second amendments. We will not condone physical intimidation or causing chaos in the middle of a global pandemic.”

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