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The Reopen RI Rally draws heroes to the State House



This post features a First Lady Melania Trump cosplayer!

A small gathering of people stood on the steps of the Rhode Island State House to deliver an important message this afternoon. They were seven health care workers silently counter-protesting the Reopen RI Rally, which called on Governor Gina Raimondo to open Rhode Island’s economy, despite the very real risks of people becoming infected by and dying of COVID-19 at increased rates.

The very presence of these frontline health care workers bore witness to the reality of COVID-19, and the dangers the disease brings to our most vulnerable communities.

Healthcare workers silently counter-protest

The Reopen RI Rally itself drew about 125 people at it’s height.

The rally at its height.

Though organizers insisted that the event was not a rally celebrating President Donald Trump, Trump was very present in the form of flags, hats, signs, slogans and shirts.

The official signs for the rally, which said “Knock It Off Gina! Reopen Rhode Island” were designed to be similar to the Trump 2020 signs that people carried.

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There was even a First Lady Melania Trump cosplayer!

Represented were many conspiracy theories, such a QAnon, Bill Gates and 5G conspiracy memes and vaccine denial.

Religion, and the closing of churches, was a big motivator for some people:

Other were motivated by their concern for personal liberties:

Still others oppose Governor Gina Raimondo, presumably for what they consider her overreach during the pandemic:

The police maintained a respectful distance and did not interfere:

And death lurked at the edges of the rally:

Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.

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