By B.N. Frank
These Ohio protesters obviously aren’t the only Americans concerned about how the pandemic has already affected their livelihoods and their liberties. They aren’t the only ones concerned that it may get worse – much worse.
As noted by Governor Mike DeWine – they still have the right to protest. At least for now they do.
Around 75 protesters gathered outside of the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday to criticize the government’s restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak.
Many wore Guy Fawkes masks over their faces, and at least one held a gun. Their signs criticized the governor’s stay-at-home order, closure of schools and shutdown of the economy: “My constitutional rights are essential,” “Ohio dies when government lies,” “Quarantine the sick not the Constitution,” “A free people in a pandemic are still a free people.”
Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton acknowledged the chanting that often could be heard during Thursday’s press conference. “There are people protesting right now outside the Statehouse. And people are worried. They’re afraid. They’re afraid about things like their jobs,” she said.
Earlier in the day, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services reported that 695,519 residents had submitted jobless claims over the past three weeks.
DeWine said the protesters had every right to be there, although he urged them to “try not to shout on each other.” The state’s ban on mass gatherings includes allowances for expressing First Amendment rights.
Top image: About 75 people wearing masks and carrying signs protest outside the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau
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