Gov. Murphy addresses criticism over attending rallies during pandemic

Gov. Phil Murphy has addressed criticism over his attendance at two rallies over the weekend as part of police brutality protests.

News 12 Staff

Jun 8, 2020, 10:15 PM

Updated 1,414 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy has addressed criticism over his attendance at two rallies over the weekend as part of police brutality protests.
The rallies in Hillside and Westfield came as the state was emerging from Murphy’s stay-home order in March to help contain the coronavirus outbreak. In many cases, the protests far exceeded the 25-person limit on gatherings. The governor said injustices stemming from slavery and racism warrant such rallies.
“This is a moment in time, perhaps unlike any in our nation’s history. There is an overwhelming amount of anger and passion - and by the way, it’s all been incredibly peaceful,” Murphy said.
When the governor was asked why these rallies can happen, but rallies centered around reopening New Jersey’s economy amid the virus were frowned upon, the governor answered, “I can’t imagine what it would look like if we said to people actually, ‘You have to stay in. You have to ignore systemic racism, I’m sorry. Just ignore it, just stay inside, you can’t go out and voice your anger, your rightful anger.’ I can’t imagine that that looks like as it relates to public safety.”
The governor also added that when it came to the reopening rallies, the organizers were cited for violating the stay-at-home order, and not the attendees.
The governor did not say if the organizers of the anti-brutality rallies would be cited.
Photos: Protests Across New Jersey
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Murphy also added that people should be careful and still wear masks while protesting. He said that anyone who attends a rally should get tested for COVID-19. He said that he and his wife have their tests scheduled.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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