Protesters rally in Brookfield days before Wisconsin Supreme Court set to consider GOP lawsuit
BROOKFIELD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Hundreds of protesters gathered near Brookfield Square Saturday morning calling on Gov. Tony Evers to reopen Wisconsin.
"We have a governor who has arbitrarily decided what is an essential business and what is not an essential business in essence calling our citizens essential or non-essential citizens. And that's wrong," said Ron Simon from Richfield.
The protest comes just days before the Wisconsin Supreme court is set to take up a Republican lawsuit seeking to block the Evers administration's "Safer at Home" order.
Brookfield police estimated 350 people attended the rally. Police told CBS 58 they did not make any arrests or issue any citations.
Many protesters said all businesses should reopen at once. Others suggested a more gradual approach.
"Gov. Evers should open now gradually around the state especially areas up north, and then start working down and have Dane County and Milwaukee County open up last," said Keith Best from the Republican Party of Waukesha County.
Many people CBS 58 spoke with said they are still employed and working, but they are fighting for those who aren't.
"I'm working. I'm getting paid. I don't want to go get my hair done or go to the bar. That's not why I'm here. I'm here because these people are suffering," said Karen Duane from Pewaukee.
Duane mentioned those who are unemployed, farmers, students, those who are suicidal and those who suffer from domestic violence.
"The solution to this is hurting more people than it's helping, and we need to open up our state now," said Karen Duane from Pewaukee.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services tweeted Saturday saying: "In order to turn the dial on #SaferAtHome & supercharge the #BadgerBounceBack, we must have access to more testing, labs, PPE & supplies. We have to expand contact tracing, aggressively track the spread & increase health care system capacity."
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for Tuesday in a lawsuit seeking to block the "Safer at Home" order. The court, on which conservatives hold a 5-2 majority, is set to examine whether DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm was within her rights to extend the order to May 26.
Republican lawmakers who filed the lawsuit argue Palm should have asked for the state Legislature's approval first. The GOP lawsuit asks for a temporary injunction to block the "Safer at Home" order, but there will be a six-day stay following the court's decision.
Protesters said they hope the court rules against the governor's administration, and they plan to keep holding rallies in the meantime.
"We're going to keep doing this over and over again until our governor listens to us," Duane said.