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Protesters who want states to reopen their economies planned gatherings throughout the U.S. Monday, including in Pennsylvania, which has reported the fourth-most coronavirus cases in the country with more than 32,000.
Hundreds of people gathered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Monday, 69 News reported. Some waved "Don't tread on me" flags, while others carried homemade signs with phrases like "Reopen PA." Many protesters did not keep 6 feet apart from one another, which is the recommended social distance during the pandemic.
Gov. Tom Wolf addressed the possibility of protests at a press conference last week.
"We are trying to steer the fine line between the goal of keeping people safe and the goal of getting this commonwealth back on its feet," Wolf said. "This is a democracy. ... When the time is right, we're going to reopen, and we'll liberate every single Pennsylvanian."
Roughly half of all states have had some sort of lockdown protest as U.S. job losses mount. Monday rallies were also planned in Maryland, North Dakota and Connecticut.
A small gathering in Maryland on Monday morning was the state's second "rally" in three days after people protested in Annapolis on Saturday.
"I believe there’s a multitude of businesses, now that people understand gravity of this virus, they can go forward … reopen our state as soon as possible," Connecticut rally organizer Jonathan Johnson told FOX Business. He's pulling together a drive-by rally in Hartford, Connecticut, on Monday evening.
Johnson is organizing the event through his state's Libertarian party but said protesters of all political stripes are welcome. This time last year, he said he was part of a rally in Hartford advocating for cannabis reform. Now the stakes are higher.
Johnson's also a small business owner who's had to furlough three part-time workers from his photo booth company because of the pandemic.
"In our industry, people are tossing their hands up," Johnson said. "There’s nothing we can do. Even if the social gathering restrictions were eliminated tomorrow, how long is it really going to be until people want to gather in large groups again?"
Monday's protest coincided with news that Facebook will remove posts and other content that encourage people to gather in defiance of government health guidelines. Although Facebook said it removed posts after consulting with state governments, many governors' offices were quick to distance themselves from the idea.