RALEIGH – A grassroots group called Reopen NC, barely a week old and thousands strong already, held a protest at the state legislative complex Tuesday to call for the suspension of unconstitutional, and economically ruinous social distancing mandates like Governor Roy Cooper’s Stay-at-Home order.
The few dozen protesters are the first tangible signs of silently building push back against the crisis policies that are destroying livelihoods across the state. Reopen NC was started by Boone business owner Ashley Smith last Tuesday, and has already grown to 22,000+ members. Describing Reopen NC as an action group, Tuesday was their first action to protest what smith says are unconstitutional restrictions infringing upon our God-given rights each day they remain in effect.
“Dozens of people, many wearing red, white and blue and waving American flags gathered outside the legislative building in downtown Raleigh Tuesday to protest the stay-at-home order that has shut down businesses and crippled North Carolina’s economy in an attempt to slow and contain the spread of coronavirus. […]
“I am so proud of us,” said Ashley Smith, a Boone business owner and co-founder of the Facebook group called ReopenNC. “We will continue to work day and night until our governor opens up for business.”
But Raleigh police disagreed. After observing the crowd for about an hour, officers determined it was too many people, too close together and asked them to disperse.
Most got in their vehicles and continued the protest by blowing their horns, but one woman who failed to leave was taken away in handcuffs. […]”
So the group was dispersed by police for violating the very rules they are protesting. The State Capitol Police are quite familiar with protests, but this one is unique. Consider the implications of emergency powers and social distancing mandates being used squash protests against the emergency powers and social distancing mandates. One person was led away in cuffs at this protest, after police determined there were simply too many people (dozens) at this protest.
The law enforcement agencies are being asked to enforce executive orders against protesters specifically opposing the policy of those orders, which seems to be getting close to a dangerous line.
Smith and the other members are undeterred, however.
“People feel like their freedoms and their rights are being infringed upon, and their businesses are suffering,” Smith said. “I think the risk does not merit the measures that we’re taking to prevent it.”
Tens of thousands of people across North Caroline, if not more, agree with her. Check out the Reopen NC page here if you think the government has gone too far with the shutdown policies.