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'Safer at Home' protest at Wisconsin Capitol to go on as planned Friday

Posted at 6:50 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 09:06:58-04

People planning to rally Friday against Wisconsin's "Safer at Home" order say they will proceed, even though their permit to hold it on Capitol grounds, was denied.

Similar to the rally in Brookfield last Saturday, the one scheduled in Madison is expected to be much bigger. It has the potential to be the largest to date in Wisconsin, with thousands saying on Facebook that they're going. Nearly 12,000 more say they're interested in going.

TMJ4 News has learned that some protestors are planning to stay in their cars for a "drive-in" rally. They'll circle the streets surrounding the Capitol. Still, many plan to get out of their vehicles for a more traditional protest.

"I'm just trying to make sure that we uphold the constitution, and to have our rights protected as Americans," said one mother from Oak Creek who plans to be in Madison for the protest, but did not want to share her name. "Based on information all of us have, we should be able to make our own choice about whether to stay at home or still work or have visitors. Those who are at a higher risk can continue to choose to stay at home. We should have an option, rather been told what we can and cannot do."

During a COVID-19 update Thursday, Governor Tony Evers implored protestors to keep a safe distance apart.

"Using the first amendment to express yourself and voice your opinion is quite sacred, but I don't think that should prevent people from using common sense," he said. "You might not have symptoms, but you could affect someone else. I don't think you'll see Capitol police or other law officers out there with yardsticks making sure people are staying six feet apart. At the end of the day, people must be responsible and make those decisions."

The Capitol building is closed.

"Cases are coming down nationwide, and Wisconsin was never even a hotspot for it," said the mom from Oak Creek, who wants to remain anonymous. "I don't feel it warrants these complete shutdowns like this. I mean, who's to say what's essential? If it's your business, it's essential. People should be allowed to start working, and be able to put food on the table for their families. That's very, very important."

Evers acknowledges that's important, but says reopening the state first requires proof that we're defeating COVID-19 consistently.

"We believe the best way to move the state forward is to attack the virus," he said. "While we're doing that, we're also looking for every flexibility we can find to dial back things that may be restricting businesses from opening and expanding. We know this is not an easy time for anyone and are looking for as many solutions as we can find."

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