Two groups organized protests in New Hampshire on Saturday, August 15th, 2020. The Karen Testerman campaign organized a protest in the morning at the State House in Concord, NH against Governor Chris Sununu’s emergency order requiring masks at large gatherings. 8.3Leader organized a protest in the middle of the day in Central Square in Keene, NH against the new Keene, NH mask ordinance. I attended both. Grrizzly joined me for the protest in Keene.
Gov. Sununu referenced the Sturgis, SD bike rally when he issued Emergency Order #63. There are two large events in NH coming up:
- Bike Week in Laconia, which is usually held in June but was rescheduled to August
- a traveling tent revival meeting in New Ipswich, NH.
Gov. Sununu issued the order on Tuesday, August 11th.
The Karen Testerman campaign announced the protest against Emergency Order #63 on Wednesday, August 12th. The protest was scheduled for Saturday, August 15th from 9 AM to 11 AM.
I wore my “My Governor is an Idiot” t-shirt.
I arrived at the State House at about 9:30 AM. Karen Testerman had just finished speaking. JR Hoel, Treasurer of Reopen NH, was starting his speech. I estimated the crowd to be between 120 and 150 people. Some folks liked my shirt, and I let some take pictures of it.
I liked JR Hoel’s speech the best of the speeches I heard at this protest. He talked about the governor’s edicts, and mentioned Emergency Order #65. This was the first I heard about that order.
JR also talked about lives lost. His lead in was that while the economy is a concern, there are more than economic concerns. He said it is tragic that families have lost loved ones to Covid. He also said it also tragic that people have committed suicide due to the lockdowns, people have died to due putting off medical care due to the shutdowns, and that people in nursing homes have been dying alone. Those people get ignored.
There were three or four other speakers. I only remember what two of them talked about.
One of those two talked about how the government should not mandate a vaccine. She says getting or declining a vaccine should be up to an individual. This individual was also on a Zoom call with the NH Secretary of State and town moderators about the upcoming state primary and general election. The topic of wearing masks came up. There is a debate in New Hampshire about whether or not masks will be required to vote in person. According to the woman, there was no decision. She noted that officials on the call referred to people that don’t want to wear masks while voting in person as “unwashed” and “unclean”.
The other of the two talked about economic impacts.
During the protest a drone flew overhead. Also during the protest a pickup truck with some women in it and a huge “WOMEN FOR TRUMP” flag drove past the State House with the horn blaring.
During and after the rally I met with and chatted with some folks that I met at other rallies. It was good to shake hands, hug, see smiling faces, and talk.
While mingling, I found out that someone from the Karen Testerman Campaign staff counted attendees. This person stopped counting at 120.
The only law enforcement presence I saw during my time in Concord was a Concord police officer in a SUV patrolling some side streets not far from the State House. The State House grounds are under NH State Police jurisdiction, and I saw no NH State Police in the Concord area.
I left Concord to go to Keene.
I drove NH-101 instead of taking NH-9 to Keene. On the drive along NH-101 I saw my first Biden signs in the wild. I also saw some BLM protests in Dublin, Peterborough, and Marlborough. The protestors were all white.
I arrived in Keene. I saw a sign warning people entering the downtown area about the new ordinance. I parked my car. I was saddened by all the people wearing masks on the street. Only a handful of people did not wear masks on Keene city streets. I was one of them.
The anti-mask ordinance protest was at Central Square centered on the Gazebo. I arrived at about 12:30 PM.
I noted, as I walked up to the Gazebo, a counter-protestor who had a sign which read, “WEARING A MASK ISN’T POLITICAL. IT IS AN INTELLIGENCE TEST.”
The protest organizer was speaking when I arrived. Shortly afterwards Karen Testerman showed up to speak. I don’t remember exactly when grrizzly found me. Grrizzly had been there long before I arrived. Near the end of the speakers Nobody got up to speak. Nobody is a libertarian activist who changed his legal name to Nobody and is running for governor in the Republican primary. As things wound down, grrizzly and I mingled a bit.
During the rally, lots of people driving past the square blew their horns.
We had hecklers passing through the square. A guy with a “FUCK TRUMP” t-shirt and a Biden mask walked through the crowd sometime after Karen Testerman finished speaking. He looked angry but said nothing to anyone while he was in earshot of me. A guy wearing a neck gaiter over his face, dress shirt, dress pants, and a tie walked through the crowd. This guy yelled some stuff at the crowd, but there was too much background noise for me to hear what he shouted.
I saw no Keene police during my entire time in Keene.
Later in the day on the 15th, the Keene newspaper published coverage of the anti-mask ordinance protest.
It was a good day but strangely tiring.
Despite Karen Testerman being a long shot to defeat Sununu in the September 8th state primary, it is impressive that Karen Testerman got that many people to Concord on a Saturday morning with the possibility of rain and with that short notice. Her support is building, but I think too slow to defeat Sununu in the primary.
Nobody is not going to defeat Sununu in the primary. I think he will only pull votes from libertarians and Free State Project members that register as Republican for the primary. While I agree with just about everything he says, I can’t see any NH Republican, even the libertarian leaning ones I know, voting for him.
I was wrong about the LPNH and their suit against the state concerning ballot access. I thought they would lose. They won. From what I’ve heard, they have enough signatures given the reduced requirements to be on the ballot in November.
There has been talk on groups I’m a member of about more protests and rallies. If they happen and I can go, I will go and report back.