AUGUSTA, Maine — A couple of hundred demonstrators went to Maine's capital to rally around the message that it's time to start opening the state back up amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite being asked to stay home, protestors lined the street outside the Blaine House in Augusta, leading to the State House, hoping to catch the attention of Maine lawmakers and Governor Janet Mills.
Fred Greenwood of Hebron told NEWS CENTER Maine, "What we need is good information, and we don't think the numbers and the information we are getting is accurate."
Instead, some feel the number of Mainers with COVID-19 is too low to force a state shutdown.
Many say they're angry they have to stay home and feel their civil liberties are being trampled.
"We don't need a nanny, and we don't need a mommy... we don't need a dictator. We need our representatives back here to be part of the conversation, and we need to make business decisions, and we need information," said Greenwood
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NEWS CENTER Maine reached out to Governor Mills' administration, and they sent us a response saying that they want to reopen the economy as soon as they can - while making sure that public health is not jeopardized.
Governor Mills said that economic leaders like the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston tell her the most important thing we can do for the economy is defeat the virus.
Reopening procedures will be coordinated with neighboring states, according to Mills.
FULL GOVERNOR MILLS' RESPONSE
Chief of the Capitol Police Russell Gauvin, told the Kennebec Journal that it looked as though there were approximately 300 people at the protest. Gauvin told the paper it looked like dozens of cars were also involved in the protest by circling back and forth through the intersections.
Gauvin also told the KJ there were no arrests, citations, or problems with the protest.
Similar rallies have happened in New Hampshire, Michigan, Ohio, and elsewhere. Participants included gun rights activists, opponents of stay-at-home orders, and fans of Republican President Donald Trump.
Maine's event Monday was organized by Republican State Rep. Chris Johansen, of Aroostook County.
At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus