COVID-19 Lockdown: Protests, Planned Kidnapping Reveal Varied Responses

Militia in Michigan with no political affiliation. (Reuters)

Thirteen people were charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Thursday, the same day more than 100 people gathered on the state Capitol lawn with the message "Let MI People Go."

Escalating frustration in Michigan represents the growing number of protests and courts cases happening nationwide. COVID-19 shutdowns and disagreements over how to handle the virus and public safety are taking a toll. And with just 25 days before the general election, every aspect of the virus has become political.

A raid involving multiple law enforcement agencies tied to a plot to kidnap Whitmer. According to the Associated Press, charges in an alleged scheme involved months of planning and even rehearsals to snatch her from her vacation home.

Six men were charged in federal court with conspiring to kidnap the governor before the Nov. 3 election in reaction to what they viewed as her "uncontrolled power," according to a federal complaint. Separately, seven others linked to a paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen were charged in state court for allegedly seeking to storm the Michigan Capitol and seek a "civil war."

At the Capitol Thursday, more than 100 members of faith-based groups and churches gathered on the lawn to support efforts to "loosen" the governor's restrictions in Michigan.

The peaceful protest was organized by Stand UP Michigan, a regional organic movement of We The People of Michigan. The group's goal is to "reclaim and defend the rights and liberties of We The People of Michigan." The group has 106,000 Facebook followers and 22,500 YouTube subscribers.

"All of us in Michigan can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never, ever amount to violence. Violence has been prevented today," Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider told reporters.

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