Protesters gather at governor’s mansion

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More than 200 people upset over restrictions on Indiana residents because of the coronavirus protested Saturday outside the state mansion of Gov. Eric Holcomb, urging him to back off and restart the economy.

People carrying signs and American flags stood close together along the street outside the home in Indianapolis. Cars passing the scene honked in support, although the rally wasn’t as large as a similar event Wednesday in Michigan.

Signs said, “If Holcomb’s job is essential, everyone’s job is essential!” and “Open Indiana Now!” Another said, “Not here for Trump here for freedom!”

Holcomb, a Republican, said a stay-at-home order that expires Monday will be extended to May 1 while he works on a plan to reopen businesses.

Earlier in the week, ahead of the rally, he disagreed with critics who accused him of acting illegally.

“If we disagree about that, then I’d be more than welcome to sit down with anyone that wants to go over the constitution or see where our authority is derived from,” Holcomb said.

Government lawyers say both Holcomb and local executives have statutory authority to limit travel in the name of public health, though that power is checked by legislative bodies. One area of particular concern has been the closure of religious facilities, but First Amendment experts say Indiana’s restrictions likely don’t overstep constitutional bounds. 

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