Hundreds of protesters demand Holcomb reopen economy

  • Comments
  • Print
Protesters chant "Open Indiana" outside the Indiana Governor's Residence on Saturday afternoon. (IBJ photo/Lindsey Erdody)

Hundreds of Hoosiers gathered outside Gov. Eric Holcomb’s home on Saturday afternoon to demand that the state be open for business now, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—not next month, as he has suggested.

Indiana has been under a stay-at-home order since March 25, and on Friday Holcomb said he plans to issue a new executive order on Monday that extends the directive until May 1, with some restrictions starting to be eased.

As of Saturday, Indiana has more than 10,600 positive cases of COVID-19 and has had 545 deaths.

Andy Lyons—who helped organize the protest through a Facebook group called “Protest Government Overreach! Indiana Governor’s mansion!”—said the gathering was about standing up for freedom. He described Holcomb as acting like “a tyrant.”

“His cure is going to end up being far, far worse than this virus is, because it’s going to hit every segment of the population,” Lyons said. “This has got to stop. It’s insanity.”

He estimated the protest attracted about 500 people. They lined the sidewalk outside the Governor’s Residence near Meridian and 46th streets and drove by in vehicles.

“I want people to have liberty to make decisions for themselves without government saying you can do this or you can’t do that,” Lyons said.

The protest was similar to others this week in such states as Michigan and Minnesota.

Those attending the Indianapolis protest held signs like “Fauci was wrong,” “Will not comply,” and “Freedom > fear.” They also waved American flags and chanted such phrases as “Open Indiana,” “Everyone is essential” and “Freedom.”

A steady stream of cars, trucks and motorcycles slowly passed by honking horns, and an RV with “Are We Russia?” written on the windshield and a sign in the window that said “I need a haircut” lapped around the block, regularly eliciting cheers as it passed by.

Hundreds gathered on Saturday to send the message to Gov. Eric Holcomb that they want the economy reopened immediately. (IBJ photo/Lindsey Erdody)

Group members emphasized they want to see Holcomb reopen the economy immediately.

“Like 20 minutes from now,” Lyons said. “I would like for him to say, ‘You know, I was wrong. Everybody go back.’”

Some said they didn’t think Holcomb ever should have ordered non-essential businesses to close.

“There’s a lot of people that like the Constitutional right to assemble, to travel, to work, and we’re being told to stay at home,” said Jason Arp, who is from Fort Wayne.

“That’s really negatively affecting a lot of households, a lot of people are losing their jobs and their businesses.”

Kristine Hunsley, who is from northern Indiana, said she was particularly upset that Holcomb suggested that churches not congregate, even on Easter Sunday. She said she found a church to attend, but she was not able to receive Holy Communion.

She said she thinks Holcomb’s actions defy “everything that our Constitution and our founding fathers stood for.”

“He’s infringing on my ability to practice my faith,” Hunsley said.

Most protesters didn’t wear face masks, gloves or other protective gear and stood within six feet of one another.

Lyons said that if any protesters get sick from the event, it was their decision to attend, so they can handle the consequences.

“If I get sick and die, that was my choice, and that’s the way it should be,” Lyons said. “Anybody else here that gets sick because they wanted to exercise their First Amendment rights, they live with the consequences.”

Some protesters said the protest might not affect Holcomb’s decision-making, but others suggested he could be voted out of office if he doesn’t listen.

“Whether it has an impact on his decisions or not, he knows we were here,” Lyons said. “He knows there are people around this country that are fed up with tyranny.”

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

32 thoughts on “Hundreds of protesters demand Holcomb reopen economy

  1. I have a suggestion. Throw them all in jail. This will do two things — (1) get them off the street, and (2) since they will be in jail they cannot vote for the trumpeter in the fall.

    1. Great James S. Let’s all have fun living in a country where people get jailed for protesting.

  2. Lyons said that if any protesters get sick from the event, it was their decision to attend, so they can handle the consequences.

    “If I get sick and die, that was my choice, and that’s the way it should be,” Lyons said. “Anybody else here that gets sick because they wanted to exercise their First Amendment rights, they live with the consequences.”

    Go for it. But reopening the economy right now has dangerous consequences for everyone else, and we are not willing to risk our lives as you apparently are.

    1. Bill L. If you are afraid to leave your home – then stay at home. As long as you want. If you stay at home you minimize the risk to virtually zero. Have a great life. Don’t fall off a ladder while your painting your ceiling.

  3. Although I am not in favor of “opening the economy” right now, yours is an ignorant remark, James S. Where in the story does it mention President Trump or that the protestors or their acolytes were/are Trump supporters? You obviously have TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome), but there’s nothing in this report that suggests this is an appropriate place to make us aware of it.

  4. Sorry Bob, but most of the people that are protesting are Trump supporters. Personally I say, let them protest, and maybe they will all try COVID-19, and understand what our Governor is trying to do. Everyone take a chill pill, STAY HOME, and grow up.

    1. Sorry Melanie. It appears that you need a chill pill. These people have every right to protest what they feel is an over-reaction by our government. You are more than welcome to stay home and think about what it means to be an adult.

    2. As an independent …Overkill is how to best describe the overall government actions involving this Covid 19 virus…Models have all been wrong and no one is using any alternative plans other than revising numbers..Those wanting to stay at home are certainly entitled to do this but I want none of my tax money to support this class.. Most likely this class all received participation trophies during their youth..The country is not sterile and has never been sterile so when is the end of this lock down foolishness ? Many credible scientist disagree with the local and national Government Drs and Scientist who at best are very knowledgeable life time Bureaucrats.. Finally this model being used to just close all businesses and just Hunker down as our Governor says for an unknown period is not sustainable…Why not isolate those known to be most susceptible and treat this larger group of older or other Americans and the rest can return to work…

  5. They should stand closer together, then refuse medical treatment, and thin the herd of idiots. Thoughts and prayers. (Bob P. thank you for making your usual appearance with ill-informed opinions – of course the vast majority are POTUS supporters – follow the nationwide news of these sorts of “protests”.)

    1. Many on the left want to keep the economy closed until COVID-19 is totally eliminated, even if it takes another year (and the total collapse of the economy, thus giving them power again). That is lunacy. The total number of American COVID-19 deaths will be 50,000 or so, not dissimilar from the number who die of the seasonal flu in a bad flu year. Since every year 40,000 Americans die from car accidents, the left should also be demanding every car be made from rubber and go no more than 5 MPH. There are risks in life.

  6. The irony of these protesters is that they will demand healthcare if they are sick while advocating for rules that will make many sick.

    This is selfish and misguided.

    I would suggest that since they want their freedom to spread that they all sign waivers that make them ineligible for life saving measures.

    Fair is fair.

  7. The irony of these protesters is that they will demand healthcare if they are sick while advocating for rules that will make many sick.

    This is selfish and misguided.

    I would suggest that since they want their freedom to spread that they all sign waivers that make them ineligible for life saving measures.

    Fair is fair.

    And the same for their families.

  8. The Indiana GOP better start a search commitee immediately for a new candidate for Governor.

    This novice ill informed tyrant RINO oaf isn’t going to be reelected.

    1. RINO? There is no such thing as the Republican party anymore….the party of deficits and no solutions. But but Bengazi….but but Obama…but but the WHO….but but China. Holcomb is doing better than expected as a Republican governor in this. And he will get re-elected.

    2. Got news for you smart guy!

      He has an extremely good chance of being reelected.

      What world are you living in?

  9. What part of science and facts don’t these protesters understand? Has my business suffered? Significantly. Have my employees been paid? Absolutely. Are any of them sick? Nope. Ignoraces is a right, but getting other people sick is not.

  10. Only the start of people understanding that this has got to stop.
    Let those of us who want to work start today.
    Others can stay home.
    Each needs to decide.

    1. Wrong. We are in this together, for better or for worse. No store, no factory, no restaurant/bar can open with “those who want to work” while protecting the jobs of those who do not want to work for fear of getting infected and maybe even dying. If you want to work, what precautions will you take to protect yourself, or to protect others? There is no easy answer, which is why we are where we are.

    2. Your freedom to work ends when it can kill others.

      We need tests and masks to get the economy restarted. We’ve known this for weeks. Where are the tests that Trump and Pence promised? Why aren’t they making sure masks are available so people can go out in public?

      We need less tweets and more tests.

  11. clearly these groups are trump supporters- while I agree that they do have a right to protest and assemble and to ignore all the stay at home and advice.Just exactly what do they plan on doing out in the workforce? Almost everything is still closed. Who here feels like going to a mall? Who here feels like going to a movie theater? Who here feels like going to a restaurant? You just need to wait it out a little bit longer settle down

    1. If they go home to friends and family after getting infected, did they just deny those people of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness? These people are idiots and while I don’t think you should endanger public safety officers to lock them up, that is what they deserve.

    2. People are missing the bigger story here. How is it these protests are organizing all of sudden and across the country. I have reason to believe this is an astroturfing campaign from well coordinated operatives. This is mass manipulation to Americans are being exploited by foreign intelligence.

      Check out the domain whois registration.

  12. I guess they can congregate and express their views, directly against well established and proven distancing guidelines. The issue is not their individual choice to get the disease, but what about their wiser friends, parents, children, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grocery workers, pharmacists, etc. that they now put at risk. Such selfishness.

  13. The key word here is selfishness, as Michael D. notes. We live in community, and therefore have responsibility to the community. In this case, each of us has a role to play to help the community. But some people do not believe that they owe anything to others in the community. In a word, that is selfishness.
    As well, people have the right to protest under the First Amendment. However, it is well established that free speech rights do not extend to yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater, thus endangering others. Even in matters relative to free speech, the welfare of the community is important.

  14. We do not have the information needed that justifies this lock-down. We have do not have yearly
    the mortality rates for all deaths. With government payments for death by virus, and government payments for related issues, one cannot believe the death risks. A lock-down needs to be fact driven, not rummer and panic. The governor’s office needs to produce hard facts to justify lock-downs. He has only followed the panic, “we could all die” line that lacks mortality data to support. Out of 10,000 Hoosiers last year, how many died in April, and how many this year. One simple count that tells us how many additional deaths might be solely caused by this virus. So why can’t the governor supply this information?

  15. You’re kidding, right? You think death figures are being inflated in order to secure funding? Take off the tinfoil hat and turn off FNC. Did you even pay attention to what happened in Italy before the lockdown went into effect? Comparing deaths year over year has no relevance. What does is the pace at which the cases were growing and how efficiently the virus was continuing to spread, and we have plenty of information on that. If we had done as you suggested and waited until we “had more information” in May, things would be much more dire than they are now.

    1. Not kidding..We know the count or counts are not correct…Dying with Coronavirus is very different than dying from the Corona Virus…We also recognize the counts for unusual but usual Flu and Pneumonia deaths are way down to minuscule… So one can logically conclude these are now all being grouped together….For what purpose ?

  16. I thought I would read some intelligent responses here. Boy was I wrong. Just people blowing off steam and insulting each other. Boy was this a waste of time.