Hundreds across US states protest against coronavirus lockdown
CONCORD, UNITED STATES: Hundreds protested on Saturday in cities across America against coronavirus-related lockdowns - with encouragement from President Donald Trump - as resentment grows against the crippling economic cost of confinement.
An estimated 400 people gathered under a cold rain in Concord, New Hampshire - many on foot while others remained in their cars - to send a message that extended quarantines were not necessary in a state with relatively few confirmed cases of Covid-19.
The crowd included several armed men wearing military-style uniforms, with their faces covered.
In Texas, more than 250 people rallied outside the State Capitol in Austin, including far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, founder of the Infowars site, who rolled up in a tank-like truck.
"It's time to reopen Texas, it's time to let people work, it's time for them to let voluntary interaction and good sense rule the day, not government force," said Mr Justin Greiss, an activist with Young Americans for Liberty.
Stay-at-home mother Amira Abuzeid added: "I'm not a doctor but I'm an intelligent person who can do the math and it looks like at the end of the day, these numbers are not that worrisome."
Few if any observed social distancing recommendations.
Demonstrators outside Maryland's colonial-era statehouse in Annapolis stayed in their cars but waved signs with messages like "Poverty kills too".
Dolores, a hairdresser, said she is not eligible for unemployment benefits because she is a business owner, not an employee. "I need to save my business. I need to work to live. Otherwise I will die," she said.
Other demonstrations took place across the country in cities such as Columbus, Ohio and San Diego, California, as well as the states of Indiana, Nevada and Wisconsin. Few practised social distancing.
Protesters have drawn encouragement in certain Democratic-led states from tweets by Mr Trump, who has said he favours a quick return to normal. - AFP