Protests outside N.H. governor’s home prompt ordinance to ban protests

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A protester holds a “This is Tyranny” mask outside Gov. Chris Sununu’s home in Newfields in November. Thomas Roy/Union Leader/file

The governor of New Hampshire can force you to strap a mask over your face, wherever you live. Try complaining about it outside his home, though, and he’ll get his politician brother on your case.

Officials in the town of Newfields, N.H. have banned protesting outside homes after anti-mask activists picketed the local home of Gov. Chris Sununu, reports the New Hampshire Union Leader.

One of those town officials is the governor’s brother, Michael.

Newfields selectmen adopted the ordinance on Dec. 22 after the group Absolute Defiance, which opposes the governor’s statewide COVID-19 mask mandate, demonstrated outside Gov. Sununu’s home there. Michael Sununu was among the three selectmen approving and signing the ordinance.

The ordinance declares it “unlawful for any person to engage in picketing before or about the residence or dwelling of any individual in the town of Newfields,” and violators can face a $100 fine for each offense.

Absolute Defiance plans to keep protesting outside the governor’s home, only will call the actions “vigils” and will not bring signs.

According to the Dec. 8 selectmen meeting minutes, Police Chief Nathan Liebenow said the ordinance was in response to “boisterous and disturbing” protests on Hemlock Court of about 80 people, which prompted complaints from neighbors.

Liebenow told selectmen that the protests have affected the tranquility of the neighborhood and strained his department, which has been assisted by New Hampshire State Police.

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