Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

People take part in a protest for "Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine" at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on April 15, 2020.

People take part in a protest for "Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine" at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on April 15, 2020.  (Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite CDC Warning of 'Significant Risk' of Lifting Stay-in-Place Orders, Right-Wingers Launch Anti-Lockdown Movement

"These selfish and out-of-touch fringe groups are throwing a temper tantrum at the expense of public safety and health."

Andrea Germanos

As reporting Wednesday revealed an internal government document warning of "a significant risk of resurgence" of the coronavirus even in a phased reopening scenario, right-wing activists in Michigan staged protests outside the state capitol to boldly defy Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's extended stay-at-home order designed to protect public health.

Dubbed "Operation Gridlock," the event was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and Michigan Freedom Fund. The groups called on people to circle their vehicles around the state capitol building in Lansing in order to create a traffic jam.

That Facebook event call-to-action asks participants to stay in their cars, but videos and photos shared on social media show many people standing outside the building. Those protesters appear to be participating in a simultaneous protest launched by the newly created Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine. Those protesters, many standing on the steps of the capitol, are seen not adhering to social distancing guidelines, openly carrying weapons, holding pro-President Donald Trump flags, and singing chants including "Recall Whitmer."

"Half protest, half Trump rally is how I would characterize #OperationGridlock in Michigan," MLive reporter Malachi Barrett said on Twitter.

The action came in for criticism from advocacy group Progress Michigan.

According to Lonnie Scott, executive director of the progressive organization, "These fringe groups have one goal: attack Gov. Whitmer for anything, even if it means sending a dangerous message about the importance of social distancing during a global pandemic."

The Michigan Freedom Fund, said Progress Michigan, is "a DeVos-backed corporate front group," referring to Trump's billionaire Education Secretary and Michigan native Betsy DeVos.

"Normally we wouldn't give these childish games the time of day," added Scott, "but we think it's important that the people of Michigan know who these people really are and the fact that a group supported by one of Trump's cabinet members, Betsy DeVos, is at the helm of this dangerous ship."

The action in Michigan Wednesday came the same day the Washington Post published a leaked draft of an internal planning document by the CDC and FEMA in which government officials warned of a "significant risk of resurgence" of the infectious disease even with a controlled reopening of schools, businesses, and other public activity.

According to the Post, the draft strategy document "warns of a 'large rebound curve' of novel coronavirus cases if mitigation efforts are relaxed too quickly before vaccines are developed and distributed or broad community immunity is achieved."

As of this writing, there are over 601,472 confirmed cases  of COVID-19 in the United States and over 24,429 deaths. Michigan is the state with the fourth highest number of confirmed cases—27,001. There have been 1,768 Covid-19-related deaths in the state. 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

260+ Companies Demand 'Big, Bold Action' on Clean Energy

"The time to act is now," the firms wrote in a letter to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

Andrea Germanos ·


Right-Wing Supreme Court Takes Up Challenge to Affirmative Action

"We will vigorously defend access and opportunity in higher education," said head of civil rights legal group.

Jessica Corbett ·


PG&E Should Be Broken Up Over Probation 'Crime Spree': Judge

The utility is emerging from probation this week as "a continuing menace" to Californians, said a federal judge.

Julia Conley ·


State AGs Allege Google Deceived Users to Profit From Location Data

"Google has a powerful financial incentive to obscure the details of its location data collection practices and to make it difficult for consumers to opt out of being tracked," said one AG.

Kenny Stancil ·


WHO Chief: 'Dangerous' to Assume Omicron Is Last Variant

"On the contrary, globally the conditions are ideal for more variants to emerge," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo