Anti-government protesters gather for “Don’t Mess with Texans” rally at State Capitol

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Anti-government protesters gathered at the State Capitol Saturday morning calling for Texas to remain “open and free” and for an end to “unconstitutional” policies related to COVID-19.

At the “Don’t Mess with Texans” rally, organized by the Texas Freedom Coalition, protesters called for the state to fully open.

It featured a number of keynote speakers, including Shelley Luther, the Dallas hair salon owner who was briefly jailed for continuing to operate her business in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s previous executive order.

Protesters planned to walk from the Capitol to the Governor’s Mansion to deliver statements to Gov. Abbott.

“Saturday’s rally is meant to give Texans a platform to stand up to the government overreach that is changing the fabric of the state of Texas forever,” said Christin Bentley, co-founder and director of the Texas Freedom Coalition.

Gov. Abbott’s phased reopening of Texas following shutdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic has been taking place over recent weeks.

On Monday, the governor announced that the state had entered Phase 2 of the reopening process, meaning businesses including childcare facilities and youth clubs.

Bars were allowed to open at 25% capacity starting on Friday, as well as bowling alleys, bingo halls, and aquariums. Restaurants are now able to operate at 50% capacity.

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