TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey residents hoping to emulate anti-‘stay at home‘ protests in other states including Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, Wyoming and Virginia were thrown a curveball on Thursday when Facebook shut down their event page.
The “Open New Jersey” rally – planned for Tuesday, April 28th at the Trenton War Memorial – was informed by Facebook that its event page violated the social media platform’s community standards. Specifically, Facebook warned that it was “coordinating harm and promoting crime.”
Here’s the message:
Shortly before the page was shut down, anyone viewing the page was prompted to review social distancing guildlines; Facebook also warned that everyone should “avoud large gatherings during this time.”
Organizer Angela DeVoe of Forked River told Save Jersey she plans to move ahead with the rally which, at the time the page was shut down, had attracted the interest of over 800 individuals.
“We would like the Governor to recognize that most of us can return safely to work by May 1, 2020,” said DeVoe. “Small business should be open and allowed to operate immediately. The parks and beaches shall resume operation. We should be able as American’s to the make choices for ourselves and our families that best coincide with our individual needs.”
Rally-goers face potential legal ramifications for their planned act of civil disobediance. Anyone violating Governor Murphy’s emergency directives faces a fine of up to $1,000 and the possibility of six months in jail. DeVoe said she and her fellow protesters aren’t deterred.
“Yes, that has been a consideration and conversation amongst the group; however, most of those planning to attend believe that standing up for our freedoms and for those most affected by the shut down is more important,” added DeVoe.
“We need some hope,” DeVoe continued. “Every press conference given by the Governor only depresses those watching, like this situation will go on forever. It’s not possible to forever be two weeks out from the apex of the virus. He uses terms like, ‘we’re not even at first and goal.’ The one size fits all of these executive orders need to end.”
Michigan police reportedly made only one arrest during this week’s highly-covered rally in Lansing.
Governor Murphy’s New Jersey restrictions are among the nation’s toughest; opposition became inflamed on Wednesday evening after the Democrat told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson that he hadn’t considered the Bill of Rights before implimenting his social-distancing regulations, specifically those impacting the 1st Amendment right of assembly.
Adding fuel to the opposition: New Jersey’s Department of Labor announced 718,000+ new unemployment claims up through Easter Eve (Saturday 4/11).