Trump calls for states to be 'liberated' from coronavirus lockdowns


In guidance on its policies for the pandemic, Facebook says that it "remove [s] COVID-19 related misinformation that could contribute to imminent physical harm". According to the Pioneer Press, the group is called "Liberate Minnesota" and it was organizing a protest in front of Gov. Tim Walz's residence urging him to lift the state's stay-at-home order.

"It enrages something inside of you", said Ms. Ackison, who was among those who protested Republican Gov. Mike DeWine's orders at the statehouse in Columbus with her 10-year-old son.

There was a protest planned for April 17 in Minnesota.

The state of MI is led by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick for Trump's opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.

As their frustration with life under lockdown grows, they have started to openly defy the social distancing rules in an effort to put pressure on governors to ease them.

Some of the protests have been small events, promoted via Facebook groups that have popped up in recent days and whose organizers are sometimes hard to identify. Others are backed by groups funded by prominent Republican donors, some with ties to Mr. Trump.

Included in that number are members of the 3% of Washington, a group which has held a series of open carry rallies in Seattle, featuring speeches from the far right protest leader, Joey Gibson. This was a position Trump publicly supported as recently as Thursday.

Over the last month, Facebook and Twitter both rolled out relatively aggressive new policies created to protect users from content contradicting the guidance of health experts, particularly anything that could result in real-world harm.

But the president and some of his supporters are impatient.

Earlier this week, in MI, thousands of protesting workers blocked roads, demanding the state reopen after Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended stay-at-home restrictions. Trump's tweets promoted protests in those states against ongoing public safety measures, many designed by his own administration, meant to keep residents safe from the virus. "I don't know what they're waiting for". I think they listen to me, ' the president said. "Nobody wants to stay shut".

Alberta to send PPE to Ontario, Quebec and BC
Shandro also said Alberta would send personal protective equipment and ventilators to Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. Workers in long-term care facilities and supportive-living sites will only be allowed to work at one location.

Polls show the protesters' views are not widely held. Trump would obviously like to win the three states in the 2020 election; MI, in particular, is a key battleground state that Trump flipped by a small margin in 2016.

In a later disclaimer, event organizers encourage attendees to exercise "personal responsibility" at the protest, stating that they "are not responsible for your current health situation or future health".

As of Thursday, Michigan had more than 28,000 coronavirus cases and its 1,921 death toll is the third-largest in the country after NY and New Jersey. That website was set up by the Idaho businessman, pastor, and one time Republican state senate candidate, Diego Rodriguez.

But it's not just Democratic governors feeling the heat. A procession of cars swarmed around the Republican-dominated statehouse in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, with messages written on windows or signs that said "stop killing our economy", "we need our church", and "time 2 work". "Their problems are not our problems", Ms. Hefner said.

Other similar events have been advertised for Saturday by an anti-vaccination activist in OR, and for Friday by a Boston group with alt-right connections.

The Ohio event earlier this week brought together a collection of anti-vaccine advocates, Second Amendment supporters, tea party activists, and other anti-government activists.

"Liberate Minnesota, Liberate Michigan, Liberate Virginia", Trump wrote on Twitter, pointing to Democrat governors who still had their states locked down. 'They seem to be protesters that like me and respect this opinion.

On April 1, Twitter again broadened its definition for the kind of harmful COVID-19 content it forbids, stating that it would "continue to prioritize removing content when it has a clear call to action that could directly pose a risk to people's health or well-being". "Eat broccoli", she said.

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