MADISON, Wis. (AP) Interest in a rally at the Wisconsin state Capitol calling for a reopening of the state has exploded after Gov. Tony Evers extended a stay-at-home order until May 26.
The rally scheduled for April 24 had about 700 people who said on Facebook they planned to attend just before Evers announced the order extension on Thursday. As of Friday morning, more than 2,400 said they were attending.
One of the organizers of the rally, Madison Elmer, said Friday that a group of people got together to put it on out of frustration over how Evers has handled reaction to the pandemic. She said they have been approached by special interest groups that want to get involved, but they’ve declined their involvement.
“We didn’t want them hijacking it or turning it into something political to fit their agenda,” said Elmer, 33, who said she lives in southeast Wisconsin but declined to say where. She said organizers have been deluged with threats and “people saying they hope we die, people calling us murderers.”
“My personal goal of the rally is to start bringing people together that have common goals in mind, which is to get rid of the stay at home order,” Elmer said. “Lots of us want us to demand Gov. Evers and (the Department of Health Services) come up with a plan for ending this. There is no plan in place. He’s not reassuring us this is going to end.”
Evers and state health officials have said their actions have been guided by the science and what steps are most appropriate to save lives. As of Thursday there were 197 COVID-19 deaths in Wisconsin and nearly 3,900 confirmed cases.