An armed militia in Michigan—in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus orders—stood outside a barbershop Monday as it opened for business despite state orders.
The Michigan Home Guard stood outside Karl Manke’s barbershop in the town of Owosso and said they were ready to blockade the door if the police arrived, the Washington Post reported.
“Yesterday six troopers came in to enforce the governor’s order or to issue a cease-and-desist order, so we are here to make sure he doesn’t get arrested,” Daniel Brewer, an Owosso resident, told NBC 25 News. “We’re willing to stand in front of that door and block the entrance so the police will have no entry there today.”
Manke’s barbershop has become something of a symbol in the state for the resistance of Whitmer’s orders. The Metro Times reported that hundreds of supporters posted encouraging messages on the barber shop’s Facebook page.
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The Post reported that dozens showed up in front of the 77-year-old’s shop wearing Trump cowboy hats and waving Trump flags. Manke said he decided to reopen last week because he could not afford to keep his doors closed any longer. He has received a cease-and-desist order and other citations since reopening.
Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart on Monday denied the state’s request to sign a temporary restraining order against Manke’s shop, where he has cut hair for 60 years, according to Fox News.
“I’m going to stay open until Jesus comes,” he said.
Whitmer has been criticized for her stay-at-home orders. She told ABC’s “The View” on Wednesday that the violent rhetoric aimed at her was troubling, but would ultimately not change her mind.
“I would not be truthful if I said it didn’t bother me, it certainly does,” she said.
Whitmer has been clashing with Republicans in Lansing and in the process is becoming a rising star in the Democrat Party. She is reportedly on Joe Biden’s shortlist for vice president.
The Detroit Free Press reported that there is another protest scheduled for Thursday in Lansing.
“The fact of the matter is the Michigan Capitol is one of the few in the country where people can come bearing guns, she said. “What we anticipate seeing tomorrow is people using those guns to intimidate others.”