Drone Footage Shows Size Of Last Week's Stay-Home Protest 'Operation Gridlock'

(WWJ) Drone footage posted to YouTube of last week's massive protest in Lansing is making the rounds on social media. 

The aerial video, shot by Patman Droneography, shows the true scale of the road rally, which brought traffic to a halt in Michigan's capital city.

On April 15, large and raucous crowds showed up for "Operation Gridlock" — protesting Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's  "Stay Home, Stay Safe. Some remained in their cars in a convoy as organizers urged, while others gathered in groups on the lawn and steps of the Capitol. 

Lines of cars in bumper-to-bumper traffic stretched for miles outside Lansing.

Commenting the video, which continues to be shared online this week, Matt Vonner wrote: "The fact that (we the people) have the technology in our hands to even be able to film this is a Galactica game changer in the power struggle. Years ago, the news just say nobody showed up and it never happened. Now we can see our numbers." 

Organizers were protesting, among other things, what they say is irregularity in the rules that allows "dope shops" to stay open while "cigar shops" are closed. They're upset that the order applies to all of Michigan, instead of just hotspots like metro Detroit, and argue that amid a pandemic citizens can be trusted to keep themselves safe. “When did one size solve everyone’s local issues?" one organizer asked, in a release promoting the rally. "Governor Whitmer will put you out of business before allowing mere citizens to be responsible for their own behavior. That is madness.”

While the event gained national attention for protesters' gripes, it was panned by many concerned it might further the spread of the virus across the state. 

"I saw someone handing out candy to little kids, bare-handed," Gov. Whitmer said, a few hours after the event. "You know, when people are flying the Confederate flag and untold numbers who gassed up on the way here, or grabbed a bite on the way home...we know that this rally endangered people."

A third, more modest, anti-quarantine protest, this time outside of the governor's Lansing residence, was held Thursday. "Operation Queens Castle," promoted by a group called West Michigan Politics, drew a much smaller convoy of honking vehicles. 

Only about a dozen protesters gathered for a demonstration dubbed "Operation Gridlock 2.0" at the Capitol on Wednesday.