By Stephen Sorace | Fox News

Hundreds of protesters joined barbers and hairdressers giving free haircuts outside the Michigan Capitol Wednesday in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus “stay-at-home” order.

The demonstration, organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and dubbed “Operation Haircut,” attracted about 300 people who opposed the measures Whitmer imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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“I will not stand down,” declared Karl Manke, a 77-year-old barber who was among about a dozen groomers offering free haircuts at the demonstration.

Manke gained national recognition after reopening his shop in Owosso earlier this month. He was cited twice and had his license suspended by regulators last week after refusing to close.

Barber Karl Manke, of Owosso, gives a free haircut to Parker Shonts on the steps of the State Capitol during a rally in Lansing, Mich., on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Barber Karl Manke, of Owosso, gives a free haircut to Parker Shonts on the steps of the State Capitol during a rally in Lansing, Mich., on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Seven barbers or hairdressers were cited for disorderly conduct after refusing to stop cutting hair at the demonstration, Michigan State Police said. The cases were referred to the state attorney general. The penalty is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine or both.

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Angela Rigas, of Caledonia, said she was ticketed after refusing three times to stop cutting hair.

“We’re all here for the same reason today — to show the governor that our rights do not come from her and that we need to open Michigan. People need to get back to work,” she said.

Jody Hebberd, left, gives a free haircut to Reid Scott, as he reads the paper on the steps of the State Capitol as Karl Manke, right, cuts the hair of Parker Shonts during a rally in Lansing, Mich., on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Jody Hebberd, left, gives a free haircut to Reid Scott, as he reads the paper on the steps of the State Capitol as Karl Manke, right, cuts the hair of Parker Shonts during a rally in Lansing, Mich., on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Manke told “Fox & Friends First” on Thursday that he was keeping his business open despite the potential consequences.

“I’m 77 years old. I mean, what are they going to give me? Life?” he asked. “I’ve got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I [couldn’t] care less.”Michigan State Police@MichStatePolice

Demonstrators have arrived at the Capitol for “Operation Haircut.” All individuals engaging in haircuts are being educated on the law. Those who do not comply will be cited for disorderly conduct. All citations will be forwarded to the AG’s Office for review.

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Whitmer has defended the business restrictions as an important way to stop the virus despite facing mounting criticism, including armed protests at the Capitol and death threats online.

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During a visit to Midland to address flooding that has forced thousands to evacuate, Whitmer told reporters Wednesday that she understands the protesters’ frustration.

“But the more people moving about and flouting the law, the harder it’s going to be turn the dial and take the next step. … In the midst of a global pandemic, what I ask is that people do so in a way that does not expose themselves or others to a prolonged public health crisis,” she said….

More: https://www.foxnews.com/us/michigan-barbers-hairdressers-free-haircuts-defy-whitmer-coronavirus-shutdown