Thousands of people gathered outside the Capitol to protest the extension Wisconsin’s current Safer at Home Order to May 26, Friday afternoon.
Protestors carried signs that read, “Evers is the Virus,” “Take back Wisconsin,” “Trump 2020,” “What would Walker do?” “My Body my Choice” and the “Don’t Tread on Me” National Rifle Association flag.
Protestors who could not find a place to park drove around the Capitol honking. Multiple people at the rally were seen carrying guns.
Sen. Kathy Bernier R-Chippewa Falls spoke at the rally. Bernier thanked the protestors and said that it was her honor to be there.
“I recognize that we have some hot spots in the state of Wisconsin and for those suffering from COVID and their families, I respect them and I am sorry for their loss and you all should be with me on that, amen.” Bernier said. “Most of the state has less than 20% of the cases, 64 counties could reopen for business, 64 counties could help us prove that we can do business safely for the business owner and safely for the customer, so thank you all for being here god bless you.”
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The protest was held after the Madison Police Department rejected their permit to hold ground on the capitol, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. The protest also occurred in spite of the Safer at Home’s order banning crowds of 10 or more.
A few neighbors in the blocks surrounding the capitol blocked protesters from parking and were seen with “Stay Home” signs.
One resident, Cleo Rank, a junior at the University of Wisconsin, said that the protesters were putting other people’s lives at risk.
“I’ve noticed that a bunch of the people walking to the protest have been saying that it’s about individual liberty and right to choose for themselves, but they’re essentially taking away that right to choose for anyone who may get the virus and die from it,” Rank said.