Protesters block state Capitol, demand end to quarantine

By Kallie Cox, News Editor

Springfield, IL-  Protesters broke the Governor’s stay at home order on Sunday to swarm the state Capitol and demand an end to COVID-19 quarantine measures.

The demonstration was called “Operation Gridlock Springfield IL” and police arrived after the protesters blocked the street in front of the Capitol.

This event joins other protests of quarantine measures across the nation and follows President Donald Trump’s tweets encouraging states to “liberate” themselves.

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Robert Tracy, from Joliet, Illinois, was one of the first demonstrators at the Capitol and was wearing a Trump 2020 t-shirt and hat, while smiling and waving a large Trump flag.

“We need to go back to work. It is shutdown, we cannot exist like this, so many people are going to lose their homes, they can’t pay their mortgages and if  they don’t have any income coming in, there are going to be I’m going to guesstimate, millions of people that are going to lose everything,” Tracy said.

Charla Wrenn, of Good Hope, Illinois, said she believes the state has overreached its authority.

“I am a stay at home homeschool mom so I have no vested interest but I think we should have a choice in whether we, anybody does business,” Wrenn said. “If we are worried we might get sick, we don’t go there; the business should be allowed to open up their guidelines, not somebody telling us that they have to stay closed.”

Wrenn said almost all restrictions placed on Illinoisans by the Governor should be lifted.

“This is not what the United States lives for, this is not what I represented my country at a powerlifting competition to come home to,” Wrenn said. 

Jayden Brest, a senior at South Fork High school from Kincaid, Illinois, attended the protest with her younger sister, who is in kindergarten.

“We believe that the way things are handled just aren’t right anymore. We should have the freedom to be able to graduate and do the things that most of the generation before us have had the privilege of doing,” Brest said. 

Brest said it is unfair she and her sister have to miss out on life events because of COVID-19 and the quarantine measures. 

“It’s my senior year; I don’t get prom, I don’t get senior night, I don’t get  my trip, I don’t get senior breakfast and I don’t get my graduation and I don’t think it’s fair,” Brest said.

In the middle of the protesters, John Keating of Springfield, Illinois, wore a mask and held up a sign that said “these people are idiots.”

“I believe that the folks here, the mentality that they are sharing and promoting, is one of the reasons that we’re not going to be able to go back to work anytime soon,” Keating said. 

Keating said the protest is damaging Illinois’s ability to flatten the curve.

“I have seen folks up here from different parts of the state, one guy said he was from three hours away, hugging, greeting each other,” Keating said. “I think that if we see an outbreak in the rest of the state then we will be able to trace it back to this day.” 

Keating said he heard protests saying ‘this is just like the flu,’ and he said that’s not true.

“The flu doesn’t have a 20% hospitalization rate,” Keating said. “These folks just don’t understand the science behind it and the message that they’ve been continuously fed just tells them to deny everything that they see, in favor of what’s being said by the administration.”

C.J. VanNote, the woman who can be seen speaking to the cops through the megaphone during the Daily Egyptian’s Facebook livestream, said she was at the event to protest tyranny.

“Everybody wants back to work, the Democrats need to get off their ass and start doing for the people instead of for themself,” VanNote said. “They need to take care of the taxpayers.”

VanNote said what happened with the police was tyranny.

View the Facebook livestream video here.

News Editor Kallie Cox can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @KallieECox.

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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