Hundreds of protesters gathered in the Orange County city of Huntington Beach to protest against the order given by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom the previous day, of closing the beaches in the state to curb the spread of the coronavirus. To express their disapproval, frustrated people flooded the place to demonstrate against the action and ended up not practicing social distancing, many not even wearing the face masks. Protesters held several signs with slogans like “Open Cali Now”, “Surfing not a Crime” and many more and took to the street, blocking the roads and leading to a lot of traffic. Many protesters were with the Fully Reopen CA group. Police tried to get the situation under control by taking the crowd out of the road sitting on horseback.
Not the first protest:
Newsom called for closing the beaches although there have been similar protests in the city two weekends ago, an estimated 80,000 people gathered to demonstrate in a heatwave at Newport Beach last weekend and a dozen more rallies took place across the state including Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. All these rallies and protests were about reopening the state’s economy or against the orders of closing beaches with the protesters showing disapproval about Gov. Newsom’s order.
Reaction of people:
Fully Reopen CA group member- Vivienne Reiten, said that it is very difficult to survive months with the number of businesses shut down due to the orders.
On the other hand, about the Newport gathering, Newsom said that these conditions were not seen in the beaches of Northern California like San Diego beaches or L.A. beaches because of strict guidelines adopted and abided by people in those places.
Council votes for decision:
In the voting against the measure of temporarily closing the beach that took place on Tuesday, the Newport Beach City Council voted 5-2 but Newsom’s order overrides that vote.
Newsom and the department’s reaction:
On Friday, Newsom expressed he sympathizes with protesters but told people that by gathering in large numbers they are fueling the spread of the lethal virus, they should practice social distancing instead of congregating together flooding places. He also added that if people would stop flooding places and practice social distancing then only they would be in the position of introducing new and improved strategies. Carrie Braun, Sheriff’s office spokeswoman, said that the sheriff has no interest in criminalizing the people enjoying the beach as long as they practice social distancing and abide by the orders.