Around 30-40 people attended the open economy protests this week. [All photos by Mark McKenna] For the fifth time since April 24, protesters urge heads of state and county to reopen the economy gathered at the Humboldt county courthouse in Eureka on Friday at noon. Over the weeks, the crowd varied between 30 in the beginning and 60 participants in height according to various estimates. Yesterday, about 40 people brought flags and signs urging "Save small local businesses" and "I want my church … dentist … audiologist … barber", etc.
The tensions between those who want to reopen the economy and those who want to maximize social removal measures to prevent disease have continued, often, though certainly not always, divided along the political party lines by almost before the Governor Newsom issued Shelter-in-Place orders on March 19 – one of the first governors to do so.
Tensions exacerbated already existing differences. A photo of a sign at last week's protest that compares a slave forced to wear a painful muzzle with public health orders to wear a cloth mask in public to protect others from the spread of the new coronavirus captured by our photographer Mark McKenna is gone viral. “Muzzles are for dogs and slaves. I am a free human being, "he said. Only one post that shares the image on Twitter has collected over 130,000 reactions and thousands of mainly hostile comments accusing women with the sign of racism.
Other posts from McKenna's image on a variety of social media sites drew enough attention that the fact-checking site, Snopes, published a post that noted that the wording had not been photographed. And Newsweek also dealt with history.
The brief flurry of attention has eased and the signs of the demonstrators this week have prompted the "responsible" reopening of the economy and confidence in vaccines. Protesters, both masked and unmasked, chatted while passing drivers honked their horns in support.