Three women ringleaders have been arrested after clashing with healthcare workers at a controversial anti-lockdown rally.
Lisa Marks Todd (55), Wendy Kath Macasieb (53) and Ashley Elaina Smith (33) were charged by cops with violating an executive order and resisting a public officer.
They arrests were made as hundreds of protesters attended the ‘Reopen North Carolina’ rally on Tuesday despite the group’s leader testing positive for the coronavirus.
The group, which has been campaigning for government officials to reopen the state and relax coronavirus restrictions, were seen gathered outside the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh.
A fourth person, Jonathan Dane Warren II, was also arrested and accused of damaging a mechanical gate on state property.
Many protesters at the rally waved American flags while others held signs that read: ‘Set our people free.’ Hardly any of were wearing masks or other protective gear as they clearly violated the social distancing order to remain six feet apart.
Lisa Todd (above) was arrested by officers wearing masks during the Reopen North Carolina rally on Tuesday
Authorities were seen arresting Wendy Macasieb during a Reopen NC rally in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday
Ashley Smith, an organizer of Reopen NC, is arrested outside the Executive Mansion
A police statement said: ‘Officers asked members of the crowd of demonstrators to step away from the fence and sidewalk in order to provide a safe social distance for the officers’ safety and the public and to protect the property from further damage.
Jonathan Dane Warren II (above) was arrested and accused of damaging a mechanical gate on state property
‘Three persons who refused to comply were charged with resisting, delaying, or obstructing an officer and violating an executive order.’
Smith’s husband told local media
‘She turned to me and said, “Hey we’re going to show what civil disobedience is all about,” Adam Smith said.
‘I think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to this movement. This could be that step like that shot heard round the world. This is going to be the step that’s heard around North Carolina. I hope that it inspires people to step up and take that step into the unknown and be willing to stand up for your rights.’
Smith herself called the arrests a ‘shocker’ and claims she suffered a wrist injury and that police ‘took away’ her glasses,
She said: ‘Not one Capitol Police Officer practiced social distancing during my entire ordeal. So much for following the law.’
The ‘Reopen North Carolina’ rally (pictured) went forward as planned on Tuesday despite the group’s leader, Audrey Whitlock, testing positive for the coronavirus
Hundreds of protesters who have been campaigning for government officials to reopen the state and relax coronavirus restrictions were seen gathered outside the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh Tuesday afternoon
Counter-protesters also stood outside the North Carolina Legislative Building during the Reopen NC rally in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday
The demonstrators called on Gov Roy Cooper to ease the stay-at-home orders for the state where there are more than 9,100 confirmed cases and 306 deaths.
Across the street, frustrated healthcare workers wearing scrubs and masks held a counterprotest. Some carried signs reading ‘Stay home for Me’. They were seen standing in a line that allowed them to comply with social distancing measures.
The ReOpen NC Twitter account has posted inflammatory suggestions that the healthcare workers were not staff at all.
The above Tweet was posted today (April 29) and said ‘half of [the protester] do not even currently work in health care’
Another Tweet claimed that the nurses at the rally were ‘big time political activitists’
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People gathered near the North Carolina Legislative building in opposition to the current stay-at-home orders on Tuesday
Many waved American flags while others held signs that read: ‘Set our people free’
Protestors gathered around the entrance of the North Carolina General Assembly building in the minutes before the House and the Senate were scheduled to begin their sessions on Tuesday
Protests led by a motorcycle participate in the rally
Some demonstrators called for the governor to ease restrictions so people can get ‘back to work’
ReOpen NC, which was started by Audrey Whitlock, is promising to hold rallies in Raleigh every Tuesday until the governor’s restrictions are lifted. His stay-at-home order has been extended until May 8.
Whitlock was unable to take part in the group’s first two rallies in Raleigh because she was in quarantine. On Sunday, Whitlock took to social media to announce that it marked the last day of her quarantine and described herself as being ‘asymptomatic’.
‘I will take a stand every day until we are a free people again, to sound the alarm because someone has to do the right thing in the face of wrong,’ Whitlock wrote.
In her post, she wrote about how the restrictions put in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic were violating her First Amendment rights as well as her 5th and 14th Amendment rights.
She said she was ‘forced’ to quarantine which violated her First Amendment rights.
‘The reality is that modern society has not been able to eradicate contagious viruses. A typical public health quarantine would occur in a medical facility.
‘I have been told not to participate in public or private accommodations as requested by the government, and therefore denied my 1st amendment right of freedom of religion,’ Whitlock wrote.
She went on to say that: ‘It has been insinuated by others that if I go out, I could be arrested for denying a quarantine order.’
Whitlock wrote that a ‘typical public health quarantine would occur in a medical facility,’.
ReOpen NC, which was started by Audrey Whitlock, is promising to hold rallies in Raleigh every Tuesday until the governor’s restrictions are lifted. His stay-at-home order has been extended until May 8
Around 1,000 people rallied in downtown Raleigh last Tuesday arguing the order violated their constitutional rights
Around 1,000 people rallied in downtown Raleigh arguing the order violated their constitutional rights.
Protesters across the country have flooded the streets to demand an end to their state’s lockdown orders.
Alabama, Ohio, Missouri and Iowa are the latest states to commit to reopening their coronavirus-ravaged economies despite health experts warning that lifting restrictions too soon could result in a new surge of infections.
In total 14 states that are home to more than 95 million people have started reopening or announced plans to reopen.
Alabama will reopen on Thursday by allowing retail stores to commence business at a reduced 50 per cent capacity. Other business including theaters, night clubs, fitness centers, barber shops, hair and nail salons will remain closed.
Ohio will reopen from Friday with non-essential surgeries that don’t require an overnight hospital stay. The state’s manufacturing, distribution and construction sectors will start to reopen on May 4 and consumer retail and services will start up again on May 12.
Protesters across the country have flooded the streets to demand an end to their state’s lockdown orders. A crowd of protestors gathered at Old Towne Orange in Orange County, California, on Monday to admonish the California’s stay-at-home orders that were enforced because of the COVID-19 pandemic
Protesters wave flags outside of the Ohio State House in Columbus, Ohio, on April 18 to protest the stay home order that is in effect until May 1
All Missouri businesses and social events will be allowed to reopen from May 4 as long as residents and business owners continue to practice proper social distancing requirements.
In Iowa, restaurants can open at 50 per cent capacity but no more than six people at one table from May 1.
Malls, fitness centers, libraries and retail stores can also open at 50 per cent capacity. All other businesses remain closed through May 15.
Nine states currently have no stay-at-home orders for residents but some do have other social distancing restrictions.
Stay-at-home orders issued by governors across the US and subsequent decisions to slowly reopen state economies have turned into highly charged political issues in recent weeks as the shutdowns have hammered the nation’s economy.
Minnesota, Mississippi, Colorado, Montana, Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska and South Carolina – will, or have already, restarted their economies following weeks of mandatory lockdowns that have thrown millions of American workers out of their jobs.
Public health authorities have warned that increasing human interactions and economic activity may spark a new surge of infections just as social-distancing measures appear to be bringing coronavirus outbreaks under control.