Around 100 people gathered outside Gov. Charlie Baker’s Swampscott home on Saturday afternoon to protest COVID-19 restrictions they see as unfair and harmful to Massachusetts businesses and residents.
The protest, which was organized by Super Happy Fun America, the same group that brought together a Straight Pride parade in Boston in 2019, featured speakers who were critical of Baker and his policies.
“This guy is worse than a RINO, he’s a fake republican,” said John Hugo, one of the protest organizers, during his remarks.
“There are states that have been wide open for months and my true feeling is that they’re dragging this out for political reasons,” said David MacDonald, a protester from Lynn.
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MacDonald was one of many protesters who expressed frustration at not being acknowledged by Baker at all despite weekly events protesting coronavirus limits, mask wearing and phased economic reopening.
"He’s supposed to be a Republican, we have a Trump stand out here every Thursday morning and he never wants to come down and talk to us," he said, adding that he believes Baker does not want Massachusetts people "to know there are people protesting on the end of his street."
"I want to talk to him, he’s afraid," said a woman in the crowd, who explained that she had immigrated to the United States 38 years ago for a better life and opposed restrictions she says impaired her freedom.
"I want my liberty, that’s why I came to this country," she said.
For some of the people who live in Baker’s neighborhood in Swampscott, the protests against his public health stances have become a bit disruptive and the lack of mask wearing by the people at them is concerning.
"It’s pretty uncomfortable," said Sophia Nelson, a high schooler in Swampscott, who explained “every Thursday they’re down at the beach saying a lot of offensive QAnon theories.”
The hope among at least a few of the people in the area is that any group that comes to the area is able to eventually find a less heated way to debate but there’s some doubt that’s possible.
“I think everybody wishes that,” explained Paul Buccheri.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon because social media blows everything up, people are angry and there’s not really any talking, we’ll see what happens after November.”