People protest NH's mask mandate

A man dressed in a safety suit and mask holds a “This is Tyranny” mask as protesters gathered to oppose face covering rules at Gov. Chris Sununu’s house in Newfields on Sunday.

Protesters upset over Gov. Chris Sununu’s statewide mask mandate demonstrated outside his home for the second weekend in a row.

Their message: “We will not comply.”

On Sunday, approximately 30 protesters gathered on public land to hold signs about Sununu’s “illegal mask mandate” and other “unconstitutional executive orders.” The protest has drawn people from various groups across the state, including a group called Absolute Defiance.

“We are very frustrated the governor is not working with our elected representatives,” Brennan Robinson, one of the organizers, said Sunday afternoon.

One protester held a sign, “Stop the scam-demic. Masks by choice. Not by force.”

Another waved a “Trump 2020” flag.

Frank Staples, 40, of Nashua, said Sununu hasn’t been responsive to those who oppose the mandate.

“We want to know when this is going to end. When do we get our lives back,” he said. “When do we get to breathe free or die? That is the question we have for the governor.”

Sununu’s press office did not return a request for comment Sunday.

A group of five incumbents and two newly elected Republican House members are pursuing a resolution in the 2021 legislative session to investigate the impeachment of Sununu for abuse of his constitutional authority during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The request follows Sununu’s decision earlier this month to require people in New Hampshire to wear a mask or face covering in public spaces, indoors and outdoors, when they cannot maintain at least 6 feet of social distance.

Robinson, 22, of Alton, said most protesters want Sununu to change the mandate to voluntary compliance.

He said the “draconian, Massachusetts-like mentality is something that should stay south of the border. The governor shouldn’t be imitating (Massachusetts Gov.) Charlie Baker.”

Many small businesses have a tough time complying with the restrictions and those with chronic respiratory illness are hurt by the mandate. Robinson said he suffers from severe asthma.

“None of the private businesses honor the exemptions that are in the mandates,” he said. “The reality is I am just denied service.”

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021