Dozens of protesters entered the Michigan Capitol on Thursday and demanded to be let onto the House floor as it was considering an extension to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus emergency declaration.
Many of the protesters were not wearing face coverings amid the pandemic.
A state police spokeswoman estimated there were 400 to 700 protesters.
People who did not wear masks or distance themselves were not issued tickets.
One demonstrator was arrested for assaulting another protester.
As the protest continued, the Republican-led Michigan House refused to extend the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration and voted to authorise a lawsuit challenging the Democratic governor’s authority and actions to combat the pandemic.
Whitmer had wanted lawmakers to extend her emergency declaration by 28 days. It expires late Thursday.
But at the same time, she believes she has other powers to respond to the crisis and does not need a legislatively-approved extension except to ensure that health care workers would continue to have special legal protections.
She has said the state of emergency will continue regardless.
The declaration is the foundation for Whitmer’s stay-at-home measure, which will remain in effect through May 15, and other directives aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
It has infected more than 41,000 Michigan residents and contributed to the deaths of 3,789.
The virus and the steps taken to curb it, including the closure of nonessential businesses, have had a devastating effect on the economy.
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In This Story: Lockdown
During the 2020 Covid-19 epidemic, lockdown has come to mean the practice of attempting to control transmission of the virus by means of restricting people’s movement and activities on a broad scale, usually on a national or state-wide basis.