Rightwing militia groups in Michigan plan to rally at the state capitol building on Thursday to protest Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders that she put in place to slow the deadly spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thursday’s demonstration will be the latest in a series of protests that started as a demonstration against the lockdown policy but are now generating fears of an eruption of political violence.
The state is currently investigating what the Michigan attorney general, Dana Nessel, characterized on Monday as “credible threats” against state Democratic politicians. Her comments followed a report of threats of violence on rightwing social media pages.
Residents posting in the Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine Facebook page called for Whitmer’s assassination. “Wonder how long till she’s hit with a shotgun blast,” one wrote. Another said they hope Thursday’s protesters are “armed to the teeth” because “voting is too late”.
Dramatic images from a 30 April protest showed militia members carrying assault rifles while glaring and shouting from the galleries of the state legislature as an emotional debate over extending a stay-at-home order took place. In response, a black lawmaker last week came to Michigan’s capitol with an escort of armed black citizens.