It might have resembled a July 4th gathering — people wearing red, white and blue and waving American flags and signs quoting the Constitution as speakers blasted songs by Lee Greenwood and Bruce Springsteen with "U.S.A." in the titles. But the crowd clustered Saturday outside Minnesota's governor's residence in St. Paul was angry.
About 250 people, few wearing masks and many standing within inches of one another, protested measures Gov. Tim Walz has implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19.
"I believe that the governor, along with so many other governors throughout the nation, has practiced overkill," said W.H. Nieder of Edina, who wore a black-and-white striped prison outfit and held a red flag that paired Minnesota's state seal with communism's hammer and sickle symbol. "This is killing a mosquito with a sledgehammer."
Homemade signs accused Walz of tyranny, communism, dictatorship and cowardice. "You R doing the most damage Walz" read a big painted board on the back of a pickup truck that drove back and forth along Summit Avenue. Other motorists passed waving flags, cheering and leaning on their horns.
A few passersby gestured with thumbs down or raised middle fingers, and a small group wearing medical scrubs and masks lined up in front of the protesters, but counterprotest was minimal.
One plaintive demonstrator was already looking ahead to August. "Do not cancel the State Fair," his sign said.