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Wisconsinites to Protest COVID Restrictions Despite Gov’t.’s Denial of Permit

‘The Permit was filed as a courtesy to not ruffle feathers…’

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Tony Evers/Photo by Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (CC)

(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Citizens protesting Wisconsin’s shelter-in-place order vowed to continue protesting even though the state government refused to give the group an official permit.

Wisconsin requires protesters to acquire permits before organized events, but a spokeswoman for Wisconsin’s Department of Administration told Madison365 that it will be rejecting all permit applications as long as Democrat Gov. Tony Evers’s shelter-in-place order remains in effect.

Last week, Evers extended the shelter-in-place order until May 26.

“DOA will deny permit requests for events that violate the ‘Safer at Home’ order,” DOA representative Molly Vidal told the news outlet. “DOA will also exercise its authority to deny a permit if the event poses a hazard to the safety of the public.”

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Madison Elmer, who has helped organize the “Reopen Wisconsin” protest, said the event will continue regardless.

“The Permit was filed as a courtesy to not ruffle feathers. The Rally is still happening,” she posted on the group’s Facebook page.

The protest will take place on Friday at 1 p.m., according to Elmer, and more than 3,000 people are expected to attend. Another 12,000 said they were interested.

The rally will be peaceful and will respect the federal government’s social-distancing guidelines, according to Elmer.

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Unlike other recent protests, “Reopen Wisconsin” is encouraging protesters not to clog the roads so they do not inadvertently block emergency vehicles.

“I personally don’t support the ‘stay-in-your-car’ to protest,” Elmer said. “It’s an inconvenience to other people who actually have somewhere to be. What if an emergency vehicle needs to get through to someone at the rally?”

Regardless, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes accused the group of jeopardizing the “safety” of “front-line individuals,” such as healthcare workers.

“We understand people’s frustration,” Barnes told Madison365, adding, “But we also have our front line workers who are still going to work every day, despite the challenges. What they are calling for is the compromised safety of those front-line individuals.”

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