Gunmen protect lockdown-defying bar
Police faced off with seven heavily-armed men on Monday after a Texas bar owner defied the coronavirus lockdown order to reopened.
Eight people including the female owner were arrested following the standoff, as they defied the governor's orders to gather outside the business, reports The Sun.
Pictures show people holding guns in front of the bar.
Coronavirus restrictions started to ease up in Texas last week, with restaurants and stores allowed to reopen from Friday - but bars were not, ABC reported.
Big Daddy Zane's opened on Monday anyway.
"This was not a protest of their second amendment rights, it was a show of force to ensure that this lady could violate the Governor's order," Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis said at a news conference Tuesday.
The people gathering outside Big Daddy Zane's prompted the response from the Odessa SWAT team, KWES-TV reported.
People said they gathered to stand against the lockdown orders, as they want businesses to be allowed to reopen.
"We're here to inspire the American people to stand up. Every single one of my buddies just got arrested for doing nothing wrong, all of our rifles were slinged," Phillip Archibald with Open Texas told KWES.
Although people said they were there to show businesses should be allowed to open, police said it was a violation of lockdowns.
"This entire thing from yesterday has zero to do with the second amendment rights of our American citizens," Griffis said.
"We're not gonna take their guns away from them."
Eight people - the bar owner and seven others - were arrested and charged following the incident.
The owner was charged with violating the lockdown orders, and will be fined, Griffis said.
Six others were charged with having weapons in a prohibited place, and one person was charged with interfering with a public officer duties, according to police.
Several of the men that were arrested were smiling in their mugshots.
Griffis said although he may not agree with everything Gov. Greg Abbott or other politicians do, he said people need to listen to politicians.
"We can't have that kind of conduct going on and invoking fear in citizens," Griffis said.
"Why do you want to use intimidation as a way to keep law enforcement from doing what we're supposed to do?"
He emphasised that he supports second amendment rights and that those will not be taken away from people, but said the actions at the standoff were against the law.
Protests have taken place across the US, as people demand for lockdowns to end and businesses be allowed to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Some protesters have said the stay-at-home mandates are a violation of their constitutional rights, and called them "tyrannical."
States across the US have begun to ease COVID-19 restrictions, but others have kept strict lockdowns in place in an effort to curb COVID-19 spread.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished here with permission.
Originally published as Gunmen protect lockdown-defying bar