Washington D.C. [USA], April 19 (ANI): President Donald Trump, using social media platform to send 'liberation' messages over the COVID-19 lockdown, seems to have encouraged thousands of protestors who hit the streets of state capitols across the country last week to express their frustrations with the stay-at-home orders that are meant to stem the coronavirus spread.
"LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" Trump tweeted. "LIBERATE MINNESOTA," he continued. "LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!"
The groups which broke stay-at-home orders as well as social distancing guidelines and rallied in at least six states last week have sent a message to the Democrat leaders to reopen the country's economy, Washington Post journalists Toluse Olorunnipa, Shawn Boburg and Arelis R. Hernandez wrote in an article published in the newspaper.
The groups include several veterans of the tea party era, activism that was powered by a network of right-wing and corporate financiers interested in reducing taxes and regulations on the industry.
Protesters railed against policies that call for nonessential businesses and schools to be closed, restaurants limited to carryout service and people to stay largely in their homes except for emergencies. They argued that the nation has sacrificed the economy, with unemployment at record levels, and people have upended their lives for something many do not see as an existential threat to society.
"I think there's a boiling point that has been reached and exceeded," said Stephen Moore, a conservative economist.
Moore is a member of both the White House council to reopen the country and a coalition of conservative leaders and activists seeking to push government officials to relax stay-at-home orders.
"I call these people the modern-day Rosa Parks -- they are protesting against injustice and a loss of liberties," Moore said of the protesters.
The protests come as governors in Texas, Minnesota and Vermont on Friday announced dates to ease certain restrictions.
In Michigan, hundreds of people battled the snow to protest against Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D), who last week added additional restrictions to the state's stay-at-home order. Protesters waved American flags, Trump flags and an occasional Confederate flag. Many screamed "Lock her up!" and "We will not comply!"
Protest leaders further told the Post that the demonstrations evolved organically into a collective call for rolling back emergency measures that they think infringe on personal freedoms and further decimate the economy.
"I feel terrible about the lives lost, but at some point, we have to say 'Mission accomplished' and come up with the next phase of this that doesn't have us continuously locked inside our homes," said Matthew Seely of the Michigan Conservative Coalition, which organized the protests.
It is noteworthy that Michigan has been one of the states hit hardest by the virus, with more than 30,000 confirmed cases and over 2,200 deaths.
However, polling cited by the Post showed that the vast majority of Americans support stay-at-home orders. Eighty-one per cent of respondents in an April 8 Quinnipiac University poll said they would support a national stay-at-home order. Sixty-eight per cent of Republicans queried said they would support a nationwide order to stay in their homes, along with 95 per cent of Democrats and 80 per cent of Independents.
In a Pew Research Center survey, 66 per cent of respondents said they are more concerned that restrictions would be lifted too quickly, as opposed to not quickly enough. While Republicans in the survey were essentially split on the question.
Public health experts have also warned that any premature easing of stay-at-home orders could lead to the second wave of the pandemic, erasing the social distancing progress, returning the population to quarantine, deepening the economic turmoil and resulting in more lives lost.
Some of them even opined that the protests have been occurring mainly because of the severe economic impact caused by the virus. More than 22 million people have filed for unemployment since Trump declared a national emergency last month.
The US has seen more coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country in the world -- with more than 734,000 confirmed infections and 38,800 fatalities as of Saturday evening. (ANI)