by WorldTribune Staff, April 24, 2020
Following several anti-lockdown protests and at least one anti-vaccine demonstration in recent days, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has banned all group events at the state capitol during the coronavirus crisis.
Additional demonstrations have been set for coming days, but the CHP says no such protests will be allowed on state property for the time being.
“In the interest of public safety and the health of all Californians during the COVID-19 pandemic, effective immediately the California Highway Patrol will deny any permit requests for events or activities at all state facilities, to include the State Capitol, until public health officials have determined it is safe to gather again,” the CHP said.
After an April 20 demonstration at the capitol in Sacramento by the anti-vaccine group Freedom Angels, the California Highway Patrol announced it had revoked the group’s permit for future protests because the demonstration violated Gov. Gavin Newsom’s social distancing order.
Some anti-vaccine activists, who have claimed that diseases such as measles aren’t that serious, now contend the coronavirus isn’t dangerous enough to justify staying home.
“This is the time for people to take notice and really evaluate the freedoms they’re giving up, all in the name of perceived safety,” said anti-vaccine group Freedom Angels co-founder Heidi Munoz Gleisner in a Facebook video.
The group organized a Monday rally in Sacramento called “Operation Gridlock.”
“People need to get back to work, get back to life, get back into contact with their loved ones who they’re isolated from, they need to be able to have a paycheck,” group co-founder Tara Thornton told the Sacramento Bee. “This is the grounds they will enslave us upon.”
While the media has characterized the anti-vaccine demonstrators as conservatives, the LA Times noted that “the anti-vaccine movement has never been limited to one political party. Left-leaning vaccine critics — such as Children’s Health Defense, led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — include environmentalists who are suspicious of chemical pollutants, corporations and Big Pharma.”
Meanwhile, police departments nationwide are standing up against strict coronavirus lockdown orders from local leaders, a report said.
The Houston Police Officers’ Union said on April 22 that its members would not enforce local County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s ruling which made it mandatory for any individual over the age of 10 to wear a mask in public, The Federalist reported on April 22.
“The Houston Police Officers’ Union believes everyone should be wearing a mask in public, in order to protect themselves from the virus and we are encouraging all of our officers to wear a mask,” the union wrote in a statement. “However, we draw the line at the draconian measures Hidalgo has decided to engage in.”
“Our officers work every single day to bridge the gap with our community and earn their trust, we will not stand idly by and allow Hidalgo to tear that bridge down, with her horrific leadership and echo chamber decision making.”
In Washington state, Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney announced on April 21 that his officers would not enforce lockdown orders. Franklin County Sheriff J.D. Raymond said he would not stop churches and business from opening with reasonable distancing measures in place.
“As I have previously stated, I have not carried out any enforcement for the current stay-at-home order,” Fortney wrote on Facebook. “I will always put your constitutional rights above politics or popular opinion. We have the right to peacefully assemble. We have the right to keep and bear arms. We have the right to attend church service of any denomination.”
Fortney challenged Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s lockdown orders as inconsistent, saying Inslee had deemed some businesses essential over others. While government construction projects may continue Fortney points out, private contractors remain out of work.
“As I arrive to work at the courthouse, I see landscapers show up each day to install new landscape and maintain our flowerbeds,” Fortney wrote. “However, a father who owns a construction company and works alone while outdoors is not allowed to run his business to make a living to provide for his wife and children? This contradiction is not okay and is bordering on unethical.”
Four sheriffs in the northwest part of Michigan announced last week that they would refuse to enforce Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown orders.
Whitmer had deemed it illegal for Michiganders to travel “between residences” or buy seeds while lottery tickets remain permitted to purchase, The Federalist noted.
Whitmer, the sheriffs said in a joint statement, “has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse Michigan citizens. As a result, we will not have strict enforcement of these orders. We will deal with every case as an individual situation and apply common sense in assessing the apparent violation… We believe that we are the last line of defense in protecting your civil liberties.”
Several governors announced they would allow stay-at-home orders to expire either on or before April 30 with certain conditions in place to kickstart their stalled economies while keeping the coronavirus at bay.
States preparing partial re=openings include Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Texas.