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Demonstrators rally against Sisolak’s pandemic-related orders

A group of protesters that has been pushing for Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak to further reopen business in the state took to the Las Vegas streets Saturday night for another rally.

Calling themselves the Reopen Nevada Group, at least 60 people started at the state’s Sawyer Building and caravaned to Las Vegas City Hall, toting signs that called for the governor’s recall, waving TRUMP 2020 flags and some openly carrying long guns amid a police escort. Similar protests were held Saturday in other locations in the state and on previous weekends.

Officially, the rally was to call for Nevada to rebuke Sisolak’s orders that forced shut thousands of businesses in the face of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it also served as a political rally for Republican candidates and conservative ideals on issues such as immigration and abortion.

“Make Nevada Red Again,” said Ed Gonzalez, a speaker and campaign manager for Dan Rodimer, former WWE wrestler and candidate for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District.

As he spoke, a woman in the crowd yelled, “Sisolak is a virus in Nevada!”

Speakers and people interviewed in the crowd voiced that they were concerned more with the financial constraints rather than the health effects of the coronavirus.

Some said they had issues with how the government decided “essential” and “nonessential” businesses. Others were skeptical that government officials are providing accurate case number data. One man, who did not give his name, said, due to COVID-19 restrictions, he is not able to visit his mother in a Las Vegas after she had a stroke in March.

On Saturday, more businesses began to open under Sisolak’s phased approach. But that isn’t good enough, co-organizer Cody Cunningham said outside City Hall. He said the openings need to move faster.

“I think it’s too little too late,” Cunningham said. “But the intensity of the protests, I do believe personally, pushed him into opening us up.”

As of Saturday, there were 6,051 cases of COVID-19 in Nevada, according to state health data. And 306 people have died from the virus as of Saturday. An analysis by the Review-Journal shows that black and Asian residents of Clark County have been disproportionately killed by COVID-19.

Most of the people who attended the rally Saturday were white.

Cunningham addressed those optics at the rally, saying groups of people more deeply affected by the virus likely to do not have time and money to show up to rallies.

“They’re more worried about scrambling to survive and keep their businesses going,” he said.

Amy Patterson, 63, drove her minivan from Mesquite to join the rally. She was laid off from a part-time job at the CasaBlanca hotel-casino.

“For me personally, it hasn’t affected me because I have other income,” Patterson said of the business closures.

But she fears people who are fighting addiction or suicide, or people already struggling with bills, have been devastated by Sisolak’s orders. She said she knows people who have relapsed on drugs and alcohol after their regular 12-step meetings were closed or impacted.

“Small business dying, Impeach Sisolak,” read one of the windows on her minivan. “More will Die of Hunger, Suicide, and Domestic Violence (Than) Covid.”

Contact Dalton LaFerney at dlaferney@reviewjournal.com or at 702-383-0288. Follow @daltonlaferney on Twitter.

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