CONCORD, N.H. (CBS/AP) — A few hundred demonstrators cheered and waved signs outside the New Hampshire State House on Saturday during a call to reopen the state.

Members of the crowd carried signs with slogans such as “Live Free or Die,” the state’s motto. Others included “Restore Jobs” and “Kiss My Constitution.”

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One demonstrator, talk show host Ian Freeman, said the government was guilty of fear-mongering over the state of the virus, and it was time to restore individual rights.

“Even if the virus were 10 times as dangerous as it is, I still wouldn’t stay inside my home. I’d rather take the risk and be a free person,” he said.

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New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu released a statement on the protest: “New Hampshire’s success at social distancing and mitigation efforts has led some to believe that COVID19 is no longer a serious threat, but we are unfortunately in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and only six weeks in.  I would like to urge Granite Staters to be patient. I empathize with the sentiment behind todays rally, but we must be responsible and patient in our actions.  I have no doubt that our economy will come back at 100%, but we are being responsible and laying the groundwork with a phased approach that works for NH.”

New Hampshire has had nearly 1,300 cases of the virus and more than three dozens deaths through Friday.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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