Hundreds of Montana residents protest stay-at-home order

April 19, 2020 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Hundreds of protesters gathered Sunday outside the Montana state Capitol to call on Gov. Steve Bullock to ease stay-at-home and business restrictions enacted to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

A line of protesters, many waving American flags and some wearing protective face masks, made its way around the Capitol building after a prayer vigil touted as a “Liberty Rally,” The Great Falls Tribune reported.

“It’s all about freedom,” said Paul Landsgaard, a Bozeman teacher.


Similar rallies throughout the West echoed President Donald Trump’s call for a rapid economic reopening and guidance issued by the White House leaving such decisions to the states. Bullock, a Democrat, has like many governors said reopening depends on curbing the rate of transmission of the virus.

The governor said Friday state residents have taken the stay-at-home and social distancing directives seriously, allowing his administration to plan to begin a phased re-opening of the state’s economy after April 24, when the stay-at-home directives expire. He said details would be announced this week.

At least 10 people have died and 433 have tested positive for the virus in Montana, according to health authorities.

For most people, coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.