TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Hundreds of protesters came to Topeka to rally, saying that it’s past time to reopen the state of Kansas.
Protesters in cars filled the streets around the Capitol, honking horns and slowing traffic for hours in downtown Topeka.
Many more lined the sidewalks, holding signs, yelling and cheering on others. The protesters said that the coronavirus pandemic is being overblown and that Kansas needs to open now.
“It’s not getting worse,” D.J Sweeney, an Olathe business owner said. “Just come on, open us up. This is America, we’re not in China. I don’t want any new extensions, no new extensions. I want to open up, and we’re going to be safe, so come on.”
People at the rally said when the governor implemented the stay-at-home order that now runs until May 3, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, she stripped people of their freedom.
“Much more dangerous than any flu or virus is this surrendering, people surrendering their rights,” Jarod Kasunic, a protester from Overland Park, said.
“The scariest thing in history is tyranny using government to take people’s rights,” he said.
Others said Kansans need to have the right to choose what’s best for them.
“Let’s open up Kansas, we’re adults. We can make those decisions for ourselves, we can sometimes be wrong, you know, but they’re our decisions to make,” Dale Pratt, a protester from Derby said. “Nothing in my mind justifies a loss of liberty for security.”
Governor Kelly said at a press conference on Thursday, she understands the feelings of the protesters.
“I’m as frustrated with this, and I wish that I could just snap my fingers and have this all over with, but we can’t do that. We really do have to pay attention to the science, pay attention to the reality on the ground, and reopen our economy as health indicators allow,” Kelly said.
She said she is working to put out a plan next week for businesses to use as guidelines to reopen.
“It can’t come soon enough, but we also can’t rush it,” Kelly said.
She also said it wasn’t a good idea for protesters not to maintain proper social distancing on Thursday. She hopes the virus doesn’t spread because of the rally.