Kentucky Residents Conduct Caravan Protest in Response to Lockdown Measures

Kentucky residents conducted a caravan-style protest Friday in response to the state's lockdown measures.

Mark Vanderhoff, a reporter for WKLY News, posted footage of the protest on Twitter and wrote: "The car caravan protest against Governor Andy Beshear's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak has grown substantially to about 30-40 cars."

The car caravan protest against @GovAndyBeshear’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak has grown substantially to about 30-40 cars.

— Mark Vanderhoff (@WLKYMark) April 17, 2020

The protesters circled the Capitol loop in the capital city of Frankfort, honking their horns and displaying signs with messages asking the governor to reopen the state. This protest follows a Wednesday demonstration outside the Capitol, where people also rallied against lockdown measures that have closed businesses across the state and asked for the economy to be reopened.

Phil Pendleton, a reporter for WKYT, also posted footage of Friday's protest on Twitter. One of the signs visible in the footage reads: "Our rights don't end where your fear begins."

Protest parade in Frankfort. More at noon @WKYT @WYMT

— Phil Pendleton (@philtvnews) April 17, 2020

Protesters on the scene said they want "some businesses to be able to reopen," according to WKYT, "and they feel that social distancing protocols have made that impractical. Protesters have also said the current restrictions are infringing on their constitutional right."

Brett Beaverson, a protester driving a white Chevy pickup truck with signs that read "It's About Liberty" attached to his car doors, told The State Journal, a Frankfort newspaper, that he believes the governor is "overstepping his authority" in continuing to keep the lockdown measures in place.

"Despite the virus being real, so is liberty," he told the newspaper. "Now that we have practiced social distancing for a month and a half, I think small businesses can reopen if they are responsible and follow CDC guidelines. We need to get our economy going again."

Patsy Bush, another protester who joined the caravan on Friday, told the Journal that she joined the protest because she saw three businesses shutter in her home town of Lawrenceburg.

"It's time to get the state open again," she told the newspaper. "Beshear doesn't want to listen to what we have to say, and it's hurting a lot of people. I think there has got to be some rules when opening back up. We don't need to wait until June. It needs to happen now."

Newsweek reached out to Beshear's office for comment but they did not hear back before publication.

Kentucky has had 2,429 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 129 deaths. The governor announced Thursday that his state is coordinating with six other states—Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio—to incrementally reopen parts of the economy.

"No decision has been made on the timing for reopening Kentucky's economy," Beshear said at his daily coronavirus press briefing Thursday, adding that the state could open in early May or June.

Governor Andy Beshear
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear celebrates with supporters after his election victory on November 5, 2019. "No decision has been made on the timing for reopening Kentucky's economy," he said at his April 16 press briefing on the coronavirus outbreak. John Sommers II/Getty