Thousands of flag-waving, honking protesters have driven past the Michigan Capitol to show their displeasure with Governor Gretchen Whitmer's lockdown orders during the coronavirus outbreak.
As snow fell, some got out of their vehicles and raised signs, one of which read, "Governor Whitmer We Are Not Prisoners."
Hours later, Whitmer shot back, telling reporters that the rally put health at risk.
The "Operation Gridlock" protest was organised by the Michigan Conservative Coalition.
"This arbitrary blanket spread of shutting down businesses, about putting all of these workers out of business, is just a disaster. It's an economic disaster for Michigan," coalition member Meshawn Maddock said. "And people are sick and tired of it."
Whitmer, a Democrat, extended a stay-home order through to April 30 and has shut down schools and businesses deemed non-essential. The governor acknowledged the pain but said the restrictions were necessary to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which causes a respiratory illness that has killed more than 1,900 Michigan residents and overwhelmed hospitals in the Detroit area.
Whitmer said she was "really disappointed" to see protesters close together without masks.
"We know that this rally endangered people. This kind of activity will put more people at risk and, sadly, it could prolong the amount of time we have to be in this posture."
The protest drew an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people, about 150 of whom demonstrated on the Capitol steps or main lawn, said Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner.
"The majority of demonstrators remained in their vehicles, and most of those who were on foot were practicing social distancing," Banner said.
Four county sheriffs in the state called Whitmer's orders a "vague framework of emergency laws" that are frustrating citizens.
Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich said people are edgy and frantic to get back to work
"We're trying to keep the peace with people. ... The economy is coming apart in northern Michigan. People are upset," Borkovich said.
Australian Associated Press