PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The sound of car and truck horns echoed off the canyon of buildings that line Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh.
This peaceful protest was about citizen’s rights.
“I want to go to work,” says Maggie Jayson of East Liberty. “I want to work and the governor has just not listened to the people.”
Jennifer Derrick drove up from Washington, Pa. “What Governor Wolf is doing to us is not fair to us, he’s not following the constitution,” says Derrick.
Dave Sills lives in Richland Township and says Governor Wolf is overstepping: “I believe it’s being used politically by Governor Wolf to shut down the economy and make Donald Trump and Vice President Pence look bad in the eyes of Pennsylvanians.”
The crowd lined both sides of Grant Street in front of the City-County Building as police watched from a distance, and drivers laid on their horns as they drove the gauntlet.
The Iron City Response Unit arrived in full militia garb complete with weapons. When their spokesman, “Hammer” was asked why the guns he responded, “Why not?”
But most of the people who came to be seen and heard were here about their jobs and livelihoods being put on hold.
Libby Savena owns a hair salon in Wexford and says, “We aren’t able to provide for our families. It’s been five weeks and we’ve been without any assistance from the government.”
Ken Barrett came from Wexford. He says some of his friends are going to lose their businesses. “I want the people to be able to make their own choices. Whether they want to stay open or not.”
“My brother and I run a home remodeling business,” says Andrew LaMay, “And we can’t work right now. Even though our project is in a vacant building.”
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It was no short drive for Vern Hilyer, whose mattress store is in Clarion. Vern says it’s not fair that his small shop has to be closed, “But yet the major box store businesses are allowed to sell the same products we do.”
In the crowd on this first day of the new face covering guidelines in Pennsylvania, there were few wearing a face covering and social distancing was almost impossible as they stood shoulder to shoulder along the sidewalk.
The protesters share a common belief that the risk is being overblown and it’s not worth the damage to the economy.
“The cure can’t be worse than the disease we’re trying to fix,” said Matt Shipley, who lives in McCandless. “If you are going to destroy our livelihoods then we might as well not all live.”