NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nearly 200 people gathered on their lunch breaks at the Legislative Plaza downtown Monday demanding an end to COVID-19 regulations, such as mask mandates and shutdowns.

“We have closed down the greatest economy on the planet because of fear, and the bible said that God’s not given us a spirit of fear but of love and power and of a sound mind,” preached Mt. Juliet Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church leading the rally.

Locke spoke on the belief that the COVID-19 pandemic was politically charged and not supported by actual science.

“Open the schools, open the churches, open the businesses!” Locke told the crowd as they cheered, “There is no reason to destroy the middle class so we can get to a place where we are more dependent upon the government.”

Most protesters said they were upset with Nashville Mayor Cooper’s ‘Rule of 8’ which went into effect Monday mandating gathering be 8 people or less.

“That strictly goes against the first amendment that says we have the right to peaceably assemble,” said Protester Amanda Schwarzntraub.

“I peaceably disagree that someone could tell you have no right to have over a certain limit of people in your home. It sounds like Soviet Russia at its climax to me,” Protester Maria Macias said.

“As soon as the government starts telling someone that they can’t exercise their constitutional rights, it’s time to push back,” added Chase Matheson.

When asked what his message would be for Mayor Cooper, Locke told the media, “I would tell Mayor Cooper that he needs to allow people to figure life out for themselves, if people fear the virus, they need to stay home. But for the rest of us that want to go to church, that want to go to school, that want to open our businesses, let us do that, because that’s freedom that’s America.”

The organizers of the rally said the police did show up at the event and talk with them, but they did not receive any fines.