Lansing — Protesters are gathering on the state Capitol to oppose the executive orders Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Michigan United for Liberty is organizing the protest in front of the Capitol, Whitmer’s office and the office of Attorney General Dana Nessel. 

The group said it plans to convey to lawmakers and state officials through its “Judgment Day” protest that residents “will passionately defend our freedom and prosperity.” 

Separately, counter protesters have canceled a demonstration because there was “no request for protection from state reps” in need of escort to and from the Capitol premise, according to the Facebook event page “Stand Up to Rightwing Extremists and White Supremacy.”

Priorities Michigan criticized President Donald Trump for egging on the protesters with his post-protest tweets, including one saying “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” The protesters represent a “small minority” of residents who oppose Whitmer’s executive orders. 

“It’s a shame that, while the vast majority of Michiganders support Gov. Whitmer’s handling of the outbreak, Trump has used his platform to back a combative group that risks not only their lives but the lives of countless other Michiganders,” said Annika Doner, outreach director for Priorities Michigan, a liberal super political action organization that backs Democratic office holders and candidates.

State police and Nessel said Wednesday they are prepared to enforce the law among protesters, including cracking down on individuals who brandish weapons in a threatening manner and any who resist and obstruct police.

Neither the Senate nor the House will be in session Thursday, effectively closing the Capitol to protesters. 

The protest occurs exactly two weeks after hundreds of protesters, some carrying firearms, protested inside the Capitol.

The protesters chanted “let us in” in front of a line of Michigan State Police troopers barring access to the House chamber while session continued. Some of those protesting carried firearms in the Capitol and into the Senate gallery above lawmakers during session. 

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

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