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Protesters gather in Texas, Wisconsin to demand relaxing of social distancing orders

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Posted at 1:13 PM, Apr 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 15:40:42-04

Protests against local "stay at home" orders took place in Wisconsin and Texas on Saturday as the decision to relax social distancing orders has become increasingly political.

In Wisconsin, several groups of gathered in Brookfield to protest the recent extension of the 'Safer at Home' order by Gov. Tony Evers. The order was set to expire on April 24, but Evers extended the order on Thursday until May 26.

The "Liberate Wisconsin" protest took place Saturday morning, with several people holding signs calling on Evers to "re-open the economy."

In Texas, a group of protestors gathered at the state capitol in Texas as part of the "You Can't Close America" rally. According to the Austin Statesman, the rally was organized in part by Owen Shroyer — a media radio personality on InfoWars, a conspiracy-touting right wing website.

At the Austin gathering, protesters at one point chanted calls for Dr. Anthony Fauci to be fired. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, is part of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force and among the most vocal administration officials in calling for caution when it comes to relaxing social distancing guidelines.

Similar protests have taken place throughout the country in recent days. Groups in Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina protested social distancing orders in their states this week. More protests — including a "Gridlock Buffalo" event planned for Monday in western New York state — are scheduled across the country in the coming days.

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump said he had the authority to force states to relax social distancing guidelines in order to re-open the U.S. economy. However, on Thursday, Trump said he would leave it to state governors to decide when they felt it would be appropriate to relax social distancing guidelines.

On Friday, Trump appeared to back those protesting social distancing orders by tweeting a series of messages calling for the "liberation" of states whose Democratic governors extended stay-at-home orders.

This story was originally published by WTMJ in Milwaukee.