AP: Michigan militia puts armed protest in the spotlight

A protester carries his rifle at the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., Thursday, April 30, 2020....
A protester carries his rifle at the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., Thursday, April 30, 2020. Hoisting American flags and handmade signs, protesters returned to the state Capitol to denounce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-home order and business restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic while lawmakers met to consider extending her emergency declaration hours before it expires. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)(NBC15)
Published: May. 2, 2020 at 11:49 AM CDT
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Gun-carrying protesters have been a common sight at some demonstrations calling for coronavirus-related restrictions to be lifted.

But an armed militia's involvement in an angry protest in the Michigan statehouse Thursday marked an escalation that drew condemnation and shone a spotlight on the practice of bringing weapons to protest, the Associated Press reports

For some observers, the images of armed men in tactical gear at a state Capitol were an unsettling symbol of rising tensions in a nation grappling with crisis.

Others saw evidence of racial bias in the way the protesters were treated by police.