State police were protecting the building and trying not to allow the protesters to gain access to the House floor, according to images and videos posted by activists on Twitter.
State Police standing in a line to block protesters who apparently want to go into the House chamber: pic.twitter.com/1mHmYB8wo4— Craig Mauger (@CraigDMauger) April 30, 2020
The Legislature at the time was debating whether to extend the governor's state of emergency.
A press conference-themed sign: pic.twitter.com/MWFlbPhhSI— Craig Mauger (@CraigDMauger) April 30, 2020
Crowd was chanting “vote no” on extending what a speaker described as “the shutdown.” pic.twitter.com/VeeayGfWNd— Craig Mauger (@CraigDMauger) April 30, 2020
A police spokesman told NBC News that it is legal in Michigan to bear arms, so long as the weapons are visible and all other laws are obeyed.
Police and staff aren’t engaging w/ protesters and the crowd is angry pic.twitter.com/2OOJC7eQl2— Anna Liz Nichols (@annaliznichols) April 30, 2020
On 23 March, Whitmer issued a "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order, which prohibits local residents from leaving their homes for work unless designated as "critical infrastructure" workers and banned public gatherings and visits to local hospitals, malls or restaurants.
Whitmer then extended the executive order until the end of April. Although lockdowns, quarantines, and states of emergency were declared and repeatedly extended in dozens of countries and regions worldwide, even in those with far less COVID-19 victims than in the US, Michigan residents viewed the governor's order as being excessive.
President Donald Trump has been advocating for states to reopen their economies and made a call-to-action earlier in April after he said that the states of Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia must be "liberated" from restrictions imposed by their Democratic governors. Medical experts for their part have been arguing that the economy should be reopened only after expanding testing capabilities across the country.