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Dozens, some armed, protest Montana restrictions in Helena

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“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 5/21/20

Despite the relatively lax and progressive reopening measures seen in Montana, including moving into Phase 2 on June 1—which will lift the mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving from outside the state and allows for 75 percent capacity in bars and restaurants, among other items—dozens of protestors, some of them armed, gathered in Helena on May 20, demanding the state be brought back to complete normalcy immediately. The protestors felt even the June 1 date is too conservative, and claim Gov. Bullock’s directives have been “arbitrary, favoring some groups of Montanans over others,” and cite a slow growth rate as another reason to open fully, reports KTVH. “On the principle of it, as a free society, we can’t just force people to close down because things are scary,” Dru Koester, a protestor, told the outlet. “If we are not free when things are bad, then are we really free or are we just play-acting at being free?” Koester is not unique in claiming the governor and his directives unfairly land on the shoulders of working class individuals. Ironically, in spite of the show of force that included military-grade semi-automatic weapons and signs that disparaged Bullock, health officials warn against such gatherings, noting they might ultimately slow the reopen process.

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