Michigan Conservatives Plan To Protest April 15th, and the right wing groups behind wave of protests.

Citizens and small business owners have had enough of Lansing’s erratic, unilateral orders that threaten Michiganders’ economic existence. The Michigan Conservative Coalition is calling for a vehicle rally to surround the Capitol Building on April 15 at 12 p.m. (noon).

Display signs, make noise and be disruptive, but stay in your vehicle so that the “Whitmer police” cannot say you are ignoring the “social distancing” order.

“Michigan’s typical small business owners obey laws, but they may not notice the progressive agenda being pushed by our radical leftist Governor Whitmer,” said Rosanne Ponkowski, President of the Michigan Conservative Coalition. “Dope shops are open, while cigar shops are closed.”

“Numerous outdoor jobs like landscaping, nurseries, excavation and lawn services are shut down.  Heart surgeries are banned as non-essential, but abortion clinics remain open,” said Meshawn Maddock, Chair of the 11th District Republican Committee.  “Construction–including much road repair—is shut down, though not a single neighboring state is doing that. Easter and Passover services were effectively cancelled by a government order. The madness needs to end before Michigan’s freedoms and economy are damaged beyond repair by power hungry bureaucrats.”

While protesters in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and other states claim to speak for ordinary citizens, many are also supported by street-fighting rightwing groups like the Proud Boys, conservative armed militia groups, religious fundamentalists, anti-vaccination groups and other elements of the radical right.

The protest put together by two Republican-connected not-for-profits was explicitly devised to cause gridlock in the city, and for a time blocked the entrance to a local hospital.

It was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition, which Michigan state corporate filings show has also operated under the name of Michigan Trump Republicans. It was also heavily promoted by the Michigan Freedom Fund, a group linked to the Trump cabinet member Betsy DeVos.

But the protest also attracted far-right protest groups who have been present at pro-Trump and gun rights rallies in Michigan throughout the Trump presidency.

Placards identified the Michigan Proud Boys as participants in the vehicle convoy. Near the state house, local radio interviewed a man who identified himself as “Phil Odinson”.

In fact the man is Phil Robinson, the prime mover in a group called the Michigan Liberty Militia, whose Facebook page features pictures of firearms, warnings of civil war, celebrations of Norse paganism and memes ultimately sourced from white nationalist groups like Patriot Front.

The pattern of rightwing not-for-profits promoting public protests while still more radical groups use lockdown resistance as a platform for extreme rightwing causes looks set to continue in events advertised in other states over coming days.

In Idaho on Friday, protesters plan to gather at the capitol building in Boise to protest anti-virus restrictions put in place by the Republican governor, Brad Little.

The protest has been heavily promoted by the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF), which counts among its donors “dark money” funds linked to the Koch brothers such as Donors Capital Fund, and Castle Rock, a foundation seeded with part of the fortune of Adolph Coors, the right wing beer magnate.