Law enforcement asks people to follow social distancing rules while protesting stay at home orders

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Local law enforcement is asking people to remember social distancing rules if they’re planning to protest this week.

A group of people said they’re planning to hold a rally in Topeka this Thursday at the Capitol and our local officers said they’re prepared.

The goal of the protest is to express frustration with the governor’s stay at home order.

Lieutenant Adam Winters with the Kansas Highway Patrol said people have a right to peacefully protest, but they have to follow the executive order that requires social distancing.

He said if people don’t respect those rules, officers may have to do things like issue citations, but they hope it doesn’t come to that.

“We have to be careful with people’s rights to protest as well as their free speech. So we definitely want to watch that. But we also are responsible for the safety of everybody involved,” Winters said. “Each situation is going to be a different situation. We’ll deal with those as they arrive. Ultimately, we have officer discretion. So those officers are encouraged to use that officer discretion when they deal with large crowds.”

Winters said protesters are allowed to drive around the capitol as part of their demonstration.
They can’t block traffic or get out of the cars to gather in a crowd.

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