Health care workers counter State House protest to reopen Rhode Island

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PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) — Protesters gathered outside the Rhode Island State House on Saturday, calling on Gov. Gina Raimondo to “knock it off” and reopen the state economy.

“Is there anybody here who believes in freedom?”

In a time of social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, they held up signs, waived American flags, and demanded the state back to work.

“We’re not kids, we’re not children. We know what to do. We know about the masks and social distancing. It’s time to let us out of our homes,” Laura Marci said.

“It’s putting a huge impact on the economy, the economy is plummeting, something that I’ve never seen in my entire life. People that want to work can’t even work,” Nicole Goodrich said.

While dozens protested against the COVID-19 restrictions in place since last month, a line of health care workers stood on the State House steps in solidarity with state leaders.

“They are not taking care of these people that can’t touch their family’s hand. They’re not there. They don’t see what we see. It’s very hard and I really wish they understood that we are trying our best to keep America safe,” Emergency room tech Kelly LaPage said.

When asked about the protesters at her daily briefing, Raimondo said she supported their rights to protest, but added that “at this point, to violate social distancing rules is just selfish.”

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