Wisconsin Protesters Enter State Park Demanding They Be Reopened to Public: 'This Is Not Nazi Germany'

Several protesters flocked to a park in Wisconsin demanding that Governor Tony Evans reopen dozens of open spaces which he closed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Around two dozen people held a rally at Lapham Peak in Delafield in defiance of Evers directing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to close 40 state parks, forests and recreational areas on April 9.

Evers decided to close the parks after thousands visited them when the state waived admission fees.

The governor said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution to help protect citizens from COVID-19, as well as the "unprecedented crowds, litter, vandalism" which were witnessed.

"I wanted to keep state parks open for the public to enjoy during this challenging time which is why outdoor activity is listed as an essential activity under the Safer at Home order," Evers said.

"Unfortunately, growing difficulty with ensuring social distancing compliance, dwindling cleaning supplies and mounting trash are some of the challenges faced by our state parks staff. We have to address the growing public health and safety concern and protect Wisconsinites."

On Tuesday, several demonstrators entered the park after walking past the barricades put in place and held signs demanding they be reopened to the public.

"These are my constitutional rights. I have a right. I'm just tired of what's going on," demonstrator Terri Bialas told WISN.

"This is insanity. It's gone way too far. We don't live in Nazi Germany."

Fellow protester Christine Bauman added: "There's no reason that this should be the way it is. It's an overreach by our governor, and this has got to stop.

"We have to start standing up for our constitutional rights. And the ability to go out here and hike is one of them."

All those who entered the park are expected to be given citations for violating Evers' order.

Elsewhere, a 78-year-old man said he also purposely attempted to walk past the barricades at Lapham Peak park in protest at what he describes as one of the "worst violations of rights he has seen in his long lifetime."

Thomas McGivern said he gave warning to officials that he was going to the park to go on his morning hike as he has done for several years, and was stopped by two wardens as he attempted to do so.

McGivern said he wanted to be cited so he can take the issue to court and object on Constitutional grounds, reported WISN host Mark Belling.

Wisconsin
Partial view of Milwaukee Skyline as photographed from McKinley Park on August 16, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Several protesters flocked to a park in Wisconsin demanding Governor Tony Evans reopen the recently closed open spaces. Raymond Boyd/Getty

Evers' office has been contacted for comment.

There are 3,555 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Wisconsin, with 170 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University. In total, 43,482 people have managed to recover from the virus in the U.S.

This map, provided by Statista, shows spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S as of April 14.

The spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S.
STATISTA

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