Rain drizzled as a crowd of about 200 people gathered in front of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on Thursday to urge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to lift coronavirus restrictions. The protesters — some carrying guns, few wearing masks — held up signs that said, “Stop Whitmer now,” and, “Dangerous safety is better than safe tyranny.”
Near the capitol steps, one man had strung an American flag onto a fishing rod. Below the flag, a brunette doll dangled from a noose tied to the pole. When another protester reached to grab the doll, a fight broke out. A video captured people wrestling over the flag and doll, shoving one another and shouting. Nearby, two people struggled over an ax.
“Where is capitol police right now?” a woman can be heard shouting into a microphone in a video published by MLive. “We have an issue, can we have the police come up to the steps please? Where are the cops?”
Violent rhetoric appears to be increasingly common among people protesting stay-at-home orders amid a coronavirus pandemic that has killed 85,000 and sickened 1.4 million people in the United States. At another Thursday protest in Commack, N.Y., Long Island protesters waved Trump 2020 banners and one held a sign that read, “Hang Fauci. Hang Gates. Open all our states.”
Michigan State Police eventually responded to the fight over the hanging doll. They said no injuries were reported, and troopers did not make any arrests. Officers said they confiscated an ax.