Three anti-lockdown protesters in North Carolina, including ReOpenNC founder Ashley Smith, were arrested outside of the mansion of Governor Roy Cooper on Tuesday morning.
The protesters were arrested for violating police orders when they stepped on the sidewalk outside of the governor’s mansion. A fourth person was put into a police vehicle but ultimately escaped charges.
“This is how Nazi Germany started,” said Ashley Smith’s husband, Adam, who was given bail money by other protesters. He called each of the officers enforcing the unconstitutional orders a “little piggy” with a bullhorn as they hauled his wife off.
Not every government official in the Tar Heel State is on the side of lockdown tyranny though. State Rep. Michael Speciale, a Craven County Republican legislator, joined the freedom protesters while dressed for the part. He was dawning a colonial-era suit with a tri-cornered hat atop his head.
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“This is the governor’s show now,” he said. “He’s got to fix it. We can’t just come in and override it. We don’t have the votes for that.”
Speciale admitted that Republicans “bit our tongues through Cooper’s order” at first despite his belief that it is unconstitutional. However, more Republicans are finding their spine as the lockdown continues and absolutely devastates the state economy.
Rep. Keith Kidwell, a Republican from Beaufort County, has recently filed legislation in the state assembly to make sure that something like “this could never happen” again. His bill would require the governor to get explicit approval from the Council of State before he could deploy emergency measures.
Gov. Cooper is doubling down on the economic shutdown despite the push back. He said that he knows that it is “frustrating to be at home so much” and displayed sympathy for “people with families that are hanging by a thread.” However, he refuses to relax his restrictions that are destroying the economic security of thousands of families throughout his state.
“The thing we have to put first and foremost is the public health and safety of North Carolinians,” Cooper said. “We have to make sure that things are safe. I’m very eager to move into our phases of reopening. We have a way to look at the indicators to tell us how fast we are going to get there. I hope we move through these as quickly as possible.”
Before her arrest, Smith gave an impassioned speech from the back of a pickup truck about the need for resistance against the governor’s tyrannical orders.
“We’ll all go to church, we’ll open our businesses and we’ll buy what we want,” she said. “We will not go down gently. … If you feel the need to stay home, it is your God-given right to do so. But we want to live!”
Smith was arrested with activists Wendy Kath Macasieb and Lisa Marks Todd and charged with violating an executive order and resisting a public officer. Their arrests are only expected to galvanize the freedom protesters further as they continue to battle against Cooper’s edicts.
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