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Monday, April 27, 2020

Handful of Trump supporters demand Rhode Island drop pandemic counter-measures

Reopen RI Rally draws heroes to the State House
Healthcare workers silently counter-protest
Saturday, a small gathering of people stood on the steps of the Rhode Island State House to deliver an important message. 

There were seven health care workers silently counter-protesting the Reopen RI Rally, which called on Governor Gina Raimondo to open Rhode Island’s economy, despite the very real risks of people becoming infected by and dying of COVID-19 at increased rates.

The very presence of these frontline health care workers bore witness to the reality of COVID-19, and the dangers the disease brings to our most vulnerable communities.

The Reopen RI Rally itself drew about 125 people at it’s height.

The rally at its height.
Though organizers insisted that the event was not a rally celebrating Donald Trump, Trump was very present in the form of flags, hats, signs, slogans and shirts.

The official signs for the rally, which said “Knock It Off Gina! Reopen Rhode Island” were designed to be similar to the Trump 2020 signs that people carried.

Not a Trump rally.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Republican House Minority Leader Blake "Flip" Filippi (who may or may not live in Charlestown or Block Island or Providence or Warwick) had this to say about this event: "There's a lot of questions out there we don't have answers to.  And maybe if the people out on the street had answers, they wouldn't be protesting. And those answers are the duty of the legislative branch to provide." OK, legislative leader Flip - what's YOUR answer? Inject bleach? - Will Collette

Represented were many conspiracy theories, such a QAnon, Bill Gates and 5G conspiracy memes and vaccine denial.

Religion, and the closing of churches, was a big motivator for some people.

Other were motivated by their concern for personal liberties.

Still others oppose Governor Gina Raimondo, presumably for what they consider her overreach during the pandemic.

There was even a First Lady Melania Trump cosplayer!
The police maintained a respectful distance and did not interfere.

And death lurked at the edges of the rally.

Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.

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