Sarah Hillman (from left), Madison Elmer and Shelby Lemke protest Gov. Tony Evers’ extension of the Safer-at-Home order during a Re-Open Burlington rally May 2 along Milwaukee Avenue. (Photo by Jason Arndt)

Demonstrators took to the streets to call for change on various issues

Some motorists honked in support while others flashed obscene gestures at demonstrators demanding the state re-open the economy May 2 during a protest along Milwaukee Avenue in Burlington.

The demonstration, dubbed Re-Open Burlington was in opposition to Gov. Tony Evers extension of the Safer-at-Home order, which was later nullified by the State Supreme Court.

The City of Burlington Police Department did not issue any citations as a result of the peaceful protest.

“We understand and respect the opinions of all our citizens, and urge everyone to continue to be responsible in their actions to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Police Chief Mark Anderson said.

A Burlington police officer on scene reported about 200 people attended the rally.

Madison Elmer, of Walworth County, said she showed up to support area businesses and people looking for fewer restrictions.

“We just want to get on with our lives and reopen Wisconsin and get our businesses up and running,” she said.

A demonstration of a very different kind took place on June 2, joining similar rallies across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

A few hours after neighboring businesses Gabby’s Palace and Trend Setters salon boarded up windows in fear of a looting and rioting experienced elsewhere, local residents joined the Kneel 4 Nine movement and peacefully displayed support for the message that the death of Floyd, who died as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck May 25, wouldn’t be in vain.

The demonstration attracted a crowd to Wehmhoff Square in downtown Burlington.

“I can’t breathe,” said Burlington’s Darnisha Garbade in an impassioned six-minute speech at the end of the hour-long demonstration, which included speeches from local pastors and citizens, along with the some 250 to 300 participants taking a knee for nine minutes to honor the nearly nine minutes Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck.

Among those taking a knee in support of the effort were Police Chief Mark Anderson and Police Sgt. Robert Jones.

Two women join a group of people protesting racial inequality and police brutality in Burlington’s Wehmhoff Square on June 2. The demonstration came following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer a week earlier.