About 20 demonstrators gathered for a rally Saturday morning at the Lake Bemidji Waterfront, with signs calling the state to reopen businesses, schools and churches.
Another rally with similar messaging was held outside the Governor’s Mansion in St. Paul last Saturday.
This is the second weekend such demonstrations were held, with organizers protesting against Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the first demonstration in Bemidji.
Prior to the event, one source speculated as many as 500 could be in attendance.
Bill Batchelder, owner of the Bemidji Woolen Mills, said the executive orders have shuttered Main Street business, but have allowed big box stores to remain open to customer traffic.
Batchelder added that he plans to address Bemidji City Council this evening to offer solutions for small business relief, such as deferral of property taxes, and the distribution of the city’s sales tax and liquor store profits to struggling businesses and individuals.