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Hundreds rally at Idaho Capitol to protest Gov. Little’s stay-home order

Idaho

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Several hundred people gather at the Idaho Capitol on Friday afternoon, defying Gov. Brad Little’s stay-home order and not concerning themselves with social distancing or precautions such as wearing masks. | Katherine Jones, Idaho Statesman

BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Hundreds of protesters showed up at the Idaho Capitol on Friday afternoon waving flags and signs while protesting — and proudly violating — Gov. Brad Little’s stay-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Disobey Idaho rally, hosted by three conservative groups — the Idaho Freedom Foundation, Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and Health Freedom Idaho — advocated for reopening the state for regular business and featured Rep. Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton, as emcee. Among the other speakers were Republican Reps. Chad Christensen and Christy Zito, and a few business owners.

“All they’re (Idahoans) being told is you can’t do this, and that’s not how it works,” Nichols said.

Holding signs that read “my liberties are not yours to take” and “freedom is essential,” among other things, the crowd chanted “we do not consent.”

Attendees were “encouraged to follow social distancing procedures,” according to a press release from the Idaho Freedom Foundation, but most didn’t. The crowd gathered closely and engaged with a few counterprotesters; many were not wearing masks, but were carrying guns.

After the speeches, some of the crowd marched down Capitol Boulevard toward downtown Boise.

Jaqueline Pierce is a mom and a small-business owner who brought her husband and children to the protest.

“We aren’t saying that coronavirus is not a real thing, but the fact that it doesn’t eliminate everyone’s freedoms and justify a whole statewide lockdown,” Pierce said. “And obviously the freedom to meet for religious congregation, people’s businesses, and this is a ripple effect for who is deemed essential and nonessential.”

The Associated Press reports similar protests have been held across the country, in Michigan, Texas and Virginia. Protests were also planned for the weekend in Salt Lake City and Helena, Montana, according to the wire service.

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