Coronavirus lockdown protests expand to more than 15 states as economic woes mount

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Protesters in more than 15 states have gathered to protest lockdown measures in response to the coronavirus, with more rallies scheduled in states including Missouri, Pennsylvania and Maine this week.

The protests come as massive job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic continue to mount — total unemployment claims over the four weeks ending on April 11 have hit nearly 22 million.


Some demonstrators ignored social distancing while others committed to remain in their cars to avoid spreading the virus. Chants of "Fire Fauci" could be heard at an Austin, Texas, rally that drew about 300 people on Saturday, according to the Austin Statesman-Reporter. In Annapolis, Maryland, protesters stuck to a safer drive-through method on Saturday, WBALTV reported.

Some of the first protests to pop up, in so-called purple states North Carolina and Michigan, involved residents raising an outcry against Democratic governors. But the trend has spread to red states as well, Reopen Missouri organizer Josh Schisler told FOX Business.

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A woman demonstrates against the government mandated lockdown due to concern about COVID-19 at the State House, Saturday, April 18, 2020, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, has extended the state's lockdown until May 3. The state has reported 5,517 coronavirus cases and 175 deaths.

"There’s been even more frustration than ever since the lockdown has been extended, that someone who is supposed to be a Republican governor — a lot of people are frustrated he's not listening to what the president has to say," Schisler said. "The silent majority is not going to stay so silent anymore."

Reaction to the pandemic has put Missouri's most vulnerable people at more risk because it's harder for them to get necessities, Schisler said. He decided to speak out against the lockdown after spending a week volunteering in New York City earlier in April.

"Rally Against the Lockdown" is scheduled for Tuesday in Jefferson City, Missouri, and although the event will be open-air, Schisler said he will be "encouraging people to comply with social distancing."

Many regarded the protests as fringe movements at first, but now the let-us-get-back-to-work sentiment has caught the attention of the nation's top politicians. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the demonstrations "unfortunate" on "Fox News Sunday."

"What we have to do is shelter in place. … But, you know, people will do what they do. But the fact is, we're all impatient. We all want out. But what they're doing is really unfortunate," Pelosi said.


States with rallies scheduled for Sunday or later in April include:

  • Arizona (April 19)
  • Tennessee (April 19)
  • Pennsylvania (April 20)
  • North Dakota (April 20)
  • Maine (April 20)
  • Missouri (April 21)
  • Wisconsin (April 24)

States that have already had rallies include:

  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Michigan
  • Florida
  • California
  • New Hampshire
  • Maryland
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Virginia
  • Idaho
  • Oregon
  • Nevada
  • Colorado
  • Oklahoma
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Utah


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