Home Coronavirus Video, Photos: Police Tell “Dozen or So” Anti-“Lockdown” Protesters to Spread Out,...

Video, Photos: Police Tell “Dozen or So” Anti-“Lockdown” Protesters to Spread Out, Leave Virginia’s Capitol Square

Signs declare "It's just a COLD VIRUS!"; "My body my choice to work"; "We will not comply"; etc. Meanwhile, polling indicates the vast majority believe we need to continue or strengthen anti-COVID19 measures.

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See below for video and photos of today’s anti-“lockdown” protest – by about “a dozen or so” protesters (“more journalists & police than protesters”), according to Virginia Public Media reporter Roberto Roldan (see his tweets, below) at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. Also note, according to WRIC, “A release from ReOpen Virginia said the group had expected ‘thousands of concerned citizens’ to attend the peaceful protest calling for restrictions to be lifted by the end of April.”  So, clearly, they fell quite a bit short of “thousands.”

According to NBC12, “At 11:30 a.m., protesters led by ReOpen Virginia, End The Lockdown VA and Virginians Against Excessive Quarantine [came] together [at the Virginia Capitol] against the restrictions continuing beyond May 1.” From what I can tell, ReOpen Virginia has 18,656 members on its Facebook group, which says it is “upset with the governor’s overreach in enacting Virginia Executive Orders #53 and #55.” Virginians Against Excessive Quarantine appears to have 94 members. It says it’s comprised of “Virginians who desire to maintain their liberty!”; who “love our country and support our government and will only support legal and ethical action”; and who “support the movement of other states who also seek to push back against excessive quarantine!”

As for the signs, they said things like:

  • “Stop the madness! It’s just a COLD VIRUS!” (completely untrue, of course, as the common cold isn’t deadly)
  • “End the shutdown for the GOOD of us ALL!” (in fact, loosening up or even ending the social distancing measures that have been taken would almost certainly end up hurting “us ALL”)
  • “We will not comply” (riiiiight…but you’re hurting other people, including potentially yourself and your family, in the process)
  • “My body my choice to work” (the thing is, we live in a complex society, comprised of many people, living close together and interacting in a wide variety of ways, which is why you shouldn’t make decisions without considering the impact on others – again, including your family, your friends, etc.)
  • “Our rights are essential” (how about everyone’s right to stay alive?)

In sum, this protest didn’t amount to much, but clearly there’s some sentiment out there pushing to open things up sooner, rather than later. How much sentiment? Hard to say, exactly, but this morning’s Navigator Research polling has 51% who agree that “[w]e are currently doing the right thing when it comes to social distancing”; 35% who believe “[w]e need more aggressive social distancing measures, further limiting people’s movement” (that’s 86% if you combine the two); and just 10% who believe “[w]e should relax social distancing measures, letting people move around more freely.”

Also worth noting from that poll: 55% worry that “[s]ocial distancing will end too soon and prolong the pandemic, endangering the economy and putting American lives at risk,” twice as many as the 27% who are more concerned that “[s]ocial distancing will go on too long and cause unnecessary damage to the economy and Americans’ livelihoods.” Finally, when you break this down by party, only 3% of Democrats think it’s time to relax social distancing measures, compared to 17% of Republicans – higher, but still a very low percentage. So clearly, the folks on Capitol Square in Richmond a little while ago are not in the majority, but in fact in a pretty small minority.