ReOpen NC protesters to hold 'Freedom Rally' across NC on Memorial Day

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Reopen NC will hold a 'Freedom Rally' outside the governor's mansion on Memorial Day. Other rallies will take place across the state in Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro and Wilmington.

"It would just be so appropriate to do it on Memorial Day and just really shine a light on honoring our fallen heroes and standing up for freedom right now," said Ashley Smith, of ReOpen NC. "We just all feel it is more important now -- than many of us have seen in our lifetime."

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Smith says people can expect the rallies will look similar to their past five events held in downtown Raleigh, which protested Governor Cooper's stay-at-home order.

As of Friday, North Carolina has entered Phase 2 of reopening. Gyms and Pools are to remain closed for several more weeks. But some restaurants and businesses can open at a limited capacity.

RELATED: North Carolina will move into Phase 2 on Friday; Salons, restaurants can reopen but gyms must stay closed

Smith says that's not good enough.

"You have this 50 percent limit. You have to make sure people are maintaining a social distancing and implement this laundry list of requirements. What you're going to see is, some places that just simply will not reopen."

Opponents like Stay Home NC are praising the Governor's phased-in approach. Back in April, the group told ABC11 that Reopen NC's rallies are irresponsible.

"You're putting more people at risk by going out to an event like this," said Michael Morgan of the group Stay Home NC.

People critical of ReOpen say protestors who get sick with COVID-19 should refuse medical treatment.

"That's absurd and it's actually laughable," Smith told ABC11 by phone. "That's a violation of every HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) guideline in existence. That's a violation of everyone's medical and personal liberty."

In the meantime, ReOpen NC leader Smith says they are moving into their 'next phase of strategy' that they are not willing to announce yet, but people can expect more gatherings.
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