BROOKLYN, Ohio — About 80 people on Saturday protested Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order.
A group called Free Ohio Now organized the rally in Brooklyn and ones in 33 other counties around the state, according to its website.
Joe Miller, who organized the local rally, said he wanted to show discontent with DeWine’s stay-at-home order that closed businesses across the state to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Miller said the orders have led to an economic and social crisis. State and local budgets have been slashed because of the economic toll of the virus.
“The cure for this virus is way worse than the disease,” Miller said. “I think we’re all finding that out. I think we’re all finding out also that the virus is not nearly as bad as we thought.”
Miller said he was encouraged by DeWine’s announcement Thursday that some businesses - including restaurants, bars, barbershops and beauty salons - will begin to reopen in the next week. Miller said more needs to be done.
“We feel our freedoms were taken away completely,” he said. “We need to keep the pressure on the legislature and the governor to open Ohio back up. It’s not open until it’s completely open.”
The Ohio Department of Health on Saturday reported 23,697 cases in the state, with 1,331 deaths.
The group started off with a gathering in the parking lot of a shuttered LA Fitness gym. Patrick Henry’s 1775 “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech was read, the group sang “God Bless America,” and prayed for the reopening of Ohio.
Several carried American flags and shouted discontent with the state’s handling of the pandemic.
Protestors stood alongside Tiedeman Road near Interstate 480 and held signs that read “Tyranny is spread faster than coronavirus,” “Liberty is essential” and “Amy Acton, not my doctor, not my dictator” referring to Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton.