Editor’s note: Up North Voice solicited photos and comments from people across its coverage area asking #Gridlock participants who traveled to Lansing yesterday to send them in. Ted Calabrese of Houghton Lake was kind enough to submit photos of the event.
LANSING – Several thousand people drove to Lansing April 16 as part of “Operation Gridlock” to protest Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders issued to control the COVID-19 virus.
Vehicles met in the Lansing area in an event to tie up traffic as part of the protest.
Some participants carried Confederate flags and signage, most with a common theme: That Whitmer had overstepped her bounds and is infringing on their personal liberties with her most recent executive order.
Whitmer said the event was not really about the stay-at-home order, which included restriction of access to most businesses and prohibits all non-essential travel, as well as a temporary restriction on the use of boats with outboard motors.
Whitmer said the “protest” was essentially a political rally that flew in the face of all the science and best practices in the stay-at-home order. Many of the participants did not have protective masks and did not follow the rule asking people to say six feet apart.
Houghton Lake’s Ted Calabrese said he reached out to the governor to express his disappointment in the restrictions. Calabrese recently retired and relocated to Roscommon County. He is an active fisherman who plies the waters all year around.
“I called the governor and complained. I told her that it’s not fair that I can’t use my boat to go fishing by myself like everybody else,” he said. “Just because my boat needs gas that makes it illegal. I’m stuck in the house and I can’t even go to the store to buy paint to keep me occupied.”
The Michigan State Police said in a statement just one misdemeanor citation was issued for a dispute between two protesters. No tickets were issued for violating the space guidelines.
Whitmer said today she hopes to have some loosening of the restrictions starting May 1, but that decision will be based on science.