Harrisburg, US – A few hundred people demonstrated Friday against the coronavirus lockdown in the US state of Pennsylvania, an AFP reporter said, with many carrying signs declaring themselves “selfish and proud”.
The demonstration in the state capital Harrisburg was held despite plans already being in place for an initial easing of restrictions starting May 22 in most of the state.
Few of the demonstrators wore masks or respected social distancing. Many were Trump supporters, with several calling for his re-election in November.
Those who do not wear masks are regularly called “selfish” in the US, where the debate over stay-at-home orders has become highly politicized.
So far Pennsylvania, which says it has seen more than 60,000 infections and 4,300 deaths from COVID-19, has been less afflicted by the pandemic than the neighbouring states of New York and New Jersey.
“I’ve been affected. My wife has been affected. My friends have been affected. Everybody in Pennsylvania has been affected by this lockdown,” said Matthew Bellis, one of the protest leaders.
“I went four to six weeks without any income for my own bills. And now I signed up for the mortgage protection stuff, but now my mortgage company is telling me they’re giving me a foreclosure notice … I don’t know what this is about,” said demonstrator Amy Graff.
Anti-lockdown demonstrations have increased in the US in the last month, especially in the states most contested for the presidential election.
They have been encouraged by President Donald Trump, who wants to revive the economy quickly.
Pennsylvania is one of these states, along with Michigan and Wisconsin.