City: Groups to protest in Lansing Thursday

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(File)

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Multiple groups have indicated they will protest on Michigan’s Capitol lawn on Thursday, according to a news release from Lansing.

Lansing officials say the protests are expected to start around 9 a.m. Authorities in Lansing are working together to ensure public safety and traffic keeps flowing.

Thousands of protesters came to Lansing about two weeks ago. Other smaller demonstrations have been held since that time.

“I am disappointed that people continue to come to Lansing and gather at the Capitol and put themselves, as well as Lansing residents, at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. We all need to be practicing social distancing by staying home or only working essential jobs in our own communities to ensure that we beat this virus,” said Mayor Andy Schor in a news release. “The Governor’s Executive Order recognizes that people are still allowed to exercise their First Amendment right to freedom of speech, and the City of Lansing understands the resources that are necessary to ensure a safe environment throughout the City during these protests. LPD (Lansing Police Department), LFD (Lansing Fire Department ) and our Public Service Department have plans for large group protests, should they be needed.”

The state of the emergency, which allows the government to take special actions to deal with a crisis, is set to expire on Thursday. It is separate from the executive orders Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued, like the stay-at-home order.

She has asked the Legislature to extend it for another 28 more days, though some Republicans lawmakers want to see the economy reopen more quickly.

The Capitol lawn is under the jurisdiction of the Michigan State Police, but Lansing police will be ready to assist if needed. Lansing police will be responsible for the area surrounding the Capitol block.

LPD will have officers walking around, bicycling and driving in the area during the demonstrations. Other police agencies have been asked to help.

The city says protesters are expected to maintain social distancing and not impede traffic. Authorities will act if people violate the law or create an unsafe environment.

The Attorney General’s Office has stated a warning must be issued before writing a ticket. Lansing police will follow that protocol, according to the city.

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