More than 400 Minnesotans plan to participate in a protest Friday of Gov. Tim Walz outside the Governor’s Residence in St. Paul.
Governors across the country are facing similar protests in response to what residents believe are unconstitutional restrictions imposed under the coronavirus pandemic. In Michigan, for instance, residents clogged the streets Thursday outside the state capitol to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order.
A group of Michiganders sued Whitmer in federal court this week because of the “draconian encroachments on their freedom.”
Nearly 500 Minnesotans have said they plan to attend a “Liberate Minnesota” event scheduled for Friday at noon outside the Governor’s Residence.
“Minnesota citizens now is the time to demand Gov. Walz and our state legislators end this lock down! Thousands of lives are being destroyed right now. It is not the governor’s place to restrict free movement of Minnesota citizens! Gov. Walz, you work for the citizens of this state!” organizers of the protest said.
The protesters believe that their freedoms and the economy “are under full-blown attack by a radical anti-American governor.”
“Gov. Walz is using this entire situation to launch a full blown attack on the citizens of Minnesota, not to save lives, but to strip away and annihilate the freedoms that we enjoy,” they said.
Gov. Walz issued an executive order April 8 extending his stay-at-home order through May 3. He has also extended his peacetime emergency declaration for an additional 30 days, bringing the total number of executive orders issued since the beginning of the pandemic to 36.
Technically speaking, Friday’s protest will be a violation of the governor’s stay-at-home order, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail or a $1,000 fine. Walz, however, has previously said that law enforcement will be more focused on “education” than on making arrests.
Nathan Hansen, a Minnesota attorney, said on Twitter that he thinks the “protest restriction is a pretty weak part of Gov. Tim Walz’s shutdown order and will likely be defeated in court.”
The 1st amendment protest restriction is pretty weak part of @GovTimWalz shutdown order and will likely be defeated in Court. The licensure, e.g., barbers and beauticians are a bit stronger for him legally but are going to piss everyone off exponentially every day.
— Nathan M. Hansen (@nathanmhansen) April 16, 2020
Republican lawmakers are growing increasingly vocal about their opposition to Walz’s extension of the stay-at-home order and attempted to pass two resolutions that would have ended the peacetime emergency and voided many of his executive orders. Both were defeated Tuesday in the DFL-controlled House.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Minnesota Governor’s Residence” by McGhiever. CC BY-SA 4.0.