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Up to an estimated 3,000 locals gathered in Orange County, California’s Huntington Beach for another lockdown protest on Friday, a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an order decreeing that all of the county’s beaches be shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Protesters gathered near the Huntington Beach pier shortly before noon, with the crowd eventually swelling to some 2,500-3,000 people,” the Orange County Register confirmed.
“The protesters held signs proclaiming, ‘All jobs are essential,’ ‘My freedom is essential,’ and ‘Newsom is not essential,’ as well as ‘Open our businesses, stand up for our rights as Americans’ and ‘The shutdown is killing us, open our state now.'”
To see an overhead view of the massive protest, play the video below (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):
The protest was reportedly organized by the “Fully Reopen CA Now Movement”, a Tea Party-like group hellbent on fighting back against Newsom’s increasingly draconian lockdown decrees.
“They suspended rights, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom of religion, and it seems like the government’s overreach was extending indefinitely on the suspension of people’s right,” one group leader said to local station KTTV.
“We cannot survive two, three months on his timeline with this amount of businesses shut down and quite frankly the data at this point doesn’t support it.”
Indeed. Some California business owners have grown so desperate for income they’ve been forced to risk criminal prosecution and reopen their businesses.
Take Juan Desmarais, the owner of Primo’s Barbershop in Vacaville. While his shop remains unofficially closed, though he must still pay rent for the building, he’s begun taking clients at home to earn the money to pay his bills.
“I took on the risk so I’m the one who is absorbing the costs. The only way to mitigate that is to do haircuts under the table and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing,” he said to CNN this week.
Desmarais isn’t alone. There’s also Breann Curtis, the owner of Clip Cage hair salon in Placer County.
“We had to open the shop because our families are depending on us,” he told CNN.
The same holds true for Sean Covell, the owner of multiple fitness centers.
“Business owners have been called ‘killers’ for trying to provide for their employees and families. Today, we aim to make sure these violations of our humanity never happen again,” he reportedly wrote in a letter as he announced the reopening of three of his fitness centers this week.
Locals in the Huntington Beach area are equally peeved over Newsom’s latest order.
See more footage from Friday’s protest below:
Proud of all of you at #HuntingtonBeach
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) May 1, 2020
Huntington Beach protest open California pic.twitter.com/Njh2kouiID
— India Hynes (@indiahynes1) May 2, 2020
— MattCundill | Flattening The Curve (@MattCundill) May 2, 2020
— iallegedly (@iallegedly) May 1, 2020
Protesters shouted “No more Newsom” and “Freedom” at a demonstration in Huntington Beach today.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) May 1, 2020
— RA Robb (@rickarobb) May 1, 2020
Big crowds gather on the corner of Main and PCH in #HuntingtonBeach to protest #coronavirus closures. @ocregister #virus #covid19 #fullyopenca #wehaveroghts #orangecounty #gavinnewsom pic.twitter.com/pv8o4jsJGZ
— Jeff Gritchen 🇺🇸 (@jeffgritchen) May 1, 2020
In response to the governor singling out Orange County’s beaches, Huntington Beach officials have reportedly announced plans to sue the state.
“This is Surf City. Our identity is very much tied up in our beaches. Constitutionally I really feel it’s not something legally the governor should be doing,” Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta said in a statement to local station KNBC.
Some, though not all, local residents agree with the decision to sue.
“We think it’s ridiculous being surfers because we are out there — we are healthy. We’re not sick. We know thousands of people, we haven’t heard of one person being sick. This whole thing is ridiculous. It’s gotten way too far,” resident Karl Elliot said.
As for the protest at Huntington Beach, despite its location, the focus appeared to be more-so on Newsom’s overall “stay-at-home” order versus his beach order.
“Despite the close proximity to the shore, more of the criticism from protesters was aimed at the stay-at-home orders than at the beach closures,” the OC Register noted.
“Some expressed frustration at the governor’s continual extensions of the stay-at-home orders, which are currently expected to last at least several more weeks.”
Dave Elm, a local factory worker who’s down to working only two days a week, argued that the local infection rate of 1.5 percent (50,442 confirmed cases divided by an estimated 3.176 million inhabitants) simply doesn’t support this level of draconianism.
“He keeps dangling the carrot,” Elm noted. “First he said 14 days, then two weeks, 30 days and now says it will be well in May. The numbers (involving the infection rate) don’t support it.”
Newport Beach resident Shannan Parks agreed, telling the Register that locals are “fed up” with the never-ending lockdown. “We have the right to open up our city,” she said.
Actually, to hear renowned billionaire investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Elon Musk tell it, ALL of America has that right.
FREE AMERICA NOW
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 29, 2020
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