Several hundred Alaskans are saying they’ll be taking part in a “rolling rally” on Wednesday from noon to 2 pm to protest the extended government closure of Alaska businesses.
Organizers are members of a Facebook group called Open Alaska, where within just a few days over 3,200 people have joined. Many express dissatisfaction with the draconian measures taken by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz that have led to such policies as:
- Pot stores in Anchorage remain open but flower stores have been shuttered.
- Liquor stores are considered essential businesses by the municipality but churches have been forbidden to have services.
- Anchorage shoppers can buy outdoor gear at Fred Meyer, Walmart or Costco, but cannot buy the same goods at Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop, or B&J Sporting Goods.
- Anchorage residents have been ordered to stay home unless they are conducting essential errands such as grocery shopping.
- Drug vagrants appear essentially exempt from all health mandates.
On Wednesday, the ad hoc group will gather at the Loussac Library at noon and drive from midtown to downtown. The route is still being determined but will go along Fifth Avenue to L Street, back on Sixth Avenue and then along Seventh Avenue. Some participants said they will roll through the downtown route for two hours. Organizers have made it clear that all participants should follow all traffic laws and signage.
The event will start with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Although the crowd size will prevent most from being able to hear the opening prayer and pledge, you can tune into the Must Read Alaska Facebook Livestream at the start of the protest at the Must Read Alaska Facebook page. Must Read Alaska will also livestream from downtown between noon and 2 pm.
At the federal level, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department may take legal action against states that continue to impose unjustifiable “house arrest” restrictions on citizens.
In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, A.G. Barr said the burdens on civil liberties appear too great in some cases, and that if someone sued a state over hunker-down orders, the Justice Department would side with the citizens.
“The idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest. I’m not saying it wasn’t justified. I’m not saying in some places it might still be justified. But it’s very onerous, as is shutting down your livelihood,” Barr said.