Coronavirus

'Patriots' to Hold Anti-Shutdown Rallies in Phoenix

A flyer for the protest from Facebook.
A flyer for the protest from Facebook. Operation Gridlock Arizona
Governor Doug Ducey's flimsy March 30 stay-at-home order to self-quarantine and shut down bars, gyms, barber shops, and dine-in services doesn't sit well with some of Arizona's so-called "patriots."

Never mind the fact that the United States has an estimated 700,000 infected and over 36,000 dead from the disease.

At "high noon" on Sunday and Monday, protests dubbed "Operation Gridlock" and "Patriots' Day Rally" are set to take place outside the State Capitol building in Phoenix.

"Come prepared for a traffic jam in Phoenix! We WANT gridlock!" an organizer for Operation Gridlock Arizona wrote on Facebook. The organizer did not immediately respond to a message from Phoenix New Times inquiring about the protest, and the number of attendees who RSVPed to the event was hidden on Facebook.

"You’re not working ... your rights and finances are being destroyed ... so it’s time to PROTEST! We do NOT consent! OPEN Arizona!" the organizer wrote on Facebook, encouraging attendees to drive around the Capitol and honk their horn.

Posts regarding the "Patriots' Day Rally" also have been circulating on Facebook, though it's unclear who is behind that protest.

"RISE UP!" Kirk Reznik wrote on Facebook in a post accompanying the flyer. "Re-Open the Arizona Economy! STOP the Shutdown! #truth #plannedemic #nomorelockdowns."


The Phoenix protests are just some of the dozens of right-wing, anti-quarantine protests that have cropped up across the country lately. On Monday, dozens of people in Ohio gathered outside the statehouse in Columbus to protest the statewide shutdown, chanting, "Open Ohio now." Two days later, thousands gathered at Michigan's State Capitol building in Lansing for another "Operation Gridlock" where protesters donned Trump attire and were actively encouraged to cause traffic jams.

A similar protest is set to take place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Monday, where groups called ReOpen PA, End the Lockdown PA, and Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine will all ... not social distance in front of the State Capitol building to express their opposition to the government's "tyranny."

Trump, true to form, whipped up the "patriot" sentiment with three tweets on Friday: "LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!," LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" AND "LIBERATE MINNESOTA."

Critics replied by the thousands with quips like, "Oh, cool. A pandemic wasn't enough, now he's trying to incite a civil war."
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Meg O'Connor was a staff writer for Phoenix New Times from April 2019 to April 2020.