CONCORD, N.H. (CBS/AP) — At least 100 people protested New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s mask mandate, chanting “Breathe free or die,” and “We will not comply,” outside his home in Newfields.
Sununu issued an executive order that took effect Friday requiring masks to be worn in public spaces, indoors or outside, when social distancing isn’t possible.
Seacoastonline.com reports protest organizer Frank Staples, working with a group called Absolute Defiance, was asked Sunday why the protest was held outside Sununu’s home rather than at the Statehouse.
“The Statehouse is closed,” Staples said. “He has shut everything down and is running the government from his house, so right now this is the Statehouse. We will be here every weekend till he ends his executive orders and the state of emergency.”
It wasn’t known if Sununu was home at the time.
Sununu had resisted calls for a statewide mandate, even as surrounding states enacted similar measures. He said last week a mandate was appropriate given the rising percentage of positive test results, the fact that the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has doubled in the last two weeks, new outbreaks at five nursing homes and an “incredibly alarming rate” of asymptomatic community transmission.
The order expires Jan. 15.
“Instituting this commonsense mask mandate today will allow us to keep our economy open and help ensure our health care system has the capacity and workforce it needs in the coming weeks,” Sununu said last week. “By wearing a mask, Granite Staters can keep our friends, family, neighbors, and critical workforce members and those they care for safe – without shutting down the economy.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)