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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group of Minnesotans is protesting Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group, organized through a Facebook group called “Live Free Minnesota”, began demonstrating at 11 a.m. Thursday in front of the governor’s mansion in St. Paul.

The group, of a couple dozen people as of noon, says they’re protesting Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order because Minnesotans are suffering.

A spokesperson for the group says they believe the governor’s stay-at-home order is unwarranted, claiming that the models that influenced his decision are “grossly inaccurate.”

The group also says they want to highlight that Minnesotans are suffering from financial pressures as well as upticks in domestic violence and depression. They say the state should be able to go back to work and fight the novel coronavirus responsibly.

In response to the demonstration, the governor’s office released a statement:

“The Governor has said that we can’t lose our democracy during this pandemic, and this extends to people exercising their First Amendment rights. We ask that for the health and safety of themselves, their families, and their fellow Minnesotans that those demonstrating exercise good social distancing behavior.”

So far, more than 1,900 people in Minnesota have tested positive for the virus. Ninety-four people have died.

Recently, Walz said that before the state can reopen, there needs to be a major increase in testing and contact tracing. Soon after that announcement, Mayo Clinic said it can fulfill that demand, and soon, if given the green light. 

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