Residents protest coronavirus stay-at-home orders in 5 states

Protests occurred in Colorado, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee and Washington.

April 19, 2020, 7:12 PM

Opposition to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders has continued to build from coast to coast, with at least five states the site of protests Sunday.

Protesters sporting masks and signs took to their state capitols, while others honked their car horns during gridlock demonstrations calling on their governors to open up their states.

In Washington state, a gathering in Olympia dubbed “Hazardous Liberty! Defend the Constitution!” called on Gov. Jay Inslee to rescind the state's stay-at-home order. Washington, which had the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. in January, now has more than 11,800 confirmed cases.

In Illinois, protesters shouting "Open Illinois!" took to the steps of the Lincoln Statue in Springfield as part of the national "Operation Gridlock" movement. The state has more than 30,300 confirmed cases.

PHOTO: Demonstrators begin to gather at a protest opposing Washington state's stay-home order to slow the coronavirus outbreak, April 19, 2020, in Olympia, Wash.
Demonstrators begin to gather at a protest opposing Washington state's stay-home order to slow the coronavirus outbreak, April 19, 2020, in Olympia, Wash.
Elaine Thompson/AP

In Denver, cars descended upon the capitol in a gridlock demonstration, while protesters gathered on the lawn carrying signs that read, "All jobs are essential" and "Dangerous freedom over gov't tyranny." The state has more than 9,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The Nashville Freedom Rally in front of Tennessee's capitol called for the right to assemble and an end to social distancing in the state. Tennessee has at least 6,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In Florida, which has 25,300 confirmed cases, the South Florida Tri-County Car Caravan called on the state to lift restrictions on businesses and to open public spaces.

The U.S. has more COVID-19 cases and deaths than any other country in the world, with at least 742,000 and 39,000, respectively.

Most states in the U.S. have adopted some form of a lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. In the last four weeks, as scores of businesses have closed, 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits.

Last week, other stay-at-home protests took place in California, Michigan, Kentucky, Minnesota, Virginia, Utah, North Carolina and Ohio.

President Donald Trump has called to "liberate" states, including Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia. In a Saturday briefing, he said that some governors are “being unreasonable” in their stay-at-home orders.

On ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Washington Gov. Inslee said the president’s message is encouraging illegal activity.

"To have an American president encourage people violate the law, I can't remember any time in my time in America we have seen such a thing," he told ABC Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. "It's dangerous, because it could inspire people to ignore things that could save their lives."

This report was featured in the Monday, April 20, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ daily news podcast.

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