“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” — Amendment 1, United States Constitution
Raleigh, NC — The state of North Carolina is one of the least affected states in the country with regard to the current COVID-19 outbreak. With just over 5,000 confirmed cases and only 108 deaths related to the virus, many citizens are growing wary of the state’s lockdown order and are demanding things go back to normal.
On Tuesday, more than 100 protesters took the the city streets of Raleigh, North Carolina to voice their desire to reopen the the state’s economy. They were quickly met with police action but the well-organized protesters stood their ground through multiple threats.
According to the News and Observer, the protest was organized by ReopenNC, a private Facebook group organized last week that wants people to make their own stay-at-home decisions to avoid exposure to COVID-19 as the worldwide pandemic continues. The group surpassed 28,000 members on Tuesday afternoon.
When the protest began, the Raleigh police department put out a tweet that is sure to go down in history books as they declared the Constitutional right to peaceably assemble, otherwise known as the First Amendment — “non-essential.”
During the protest, the police department filmed their officers ordering the crowd to disperse as their commands fell on deaf ears.
“You are in violation of the executive order,” said a police captain. “You are posing a risk to public health. If you do not disperse, you will be taken and processed at Wake County jail.”
Every 15 minutes during the protest, roughly 50 cars honked their horns in unison.
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” said one protester.
“Are you goons of Cooper or servants of the people?” said another, in reference to governor Roy Cooper’s executive order.