More than 200 people protest stay-at-home order in California
More than 200 people in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Friday staged a protest over the state’s stay-at-home order, which was put in place by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The protest was one of a number of demonstrations that took place across the country this week as more and more Americans clamor for a reopening of the U.S. economy, despite warnings from public health experts that reopening parts of the country too early could lead to a resurgence of cases.
Local police said in a statement that the protest in Huntington Beach began small but “quickly grew to a group of over 200 people.”
“We are asking our community and those that visit Huntington Beach to remember we are under an Executive Order by the State, which specifically states all residents of California should stay at home in an effort to help flatten the curve in regard to community spread of COVID-19,” police said. “The more people are out and gathered in groups, the more COVID-19 will spread in our community and endanger lives.”
— Stephen Carr (@Carrphotos) April 17, 2020
The police department acknowledged that “people’s emotions are high and many are frustrated with the current Executive Order” but urged residents to stay home, saying, “After all the work we have put in thus far to comply with the State order, we do not want to see a resurgence of the disease.”
“Although this event was peaceful, we do not encourage our residents to loosen their social distancing practices just yet. It is still not okay to gather in groups. As we work with local, state and federal government officials, we ask that you continue to be patient and stay the course. Public safety will continue to be our top priority, and we ask that you continue to follow the orders set forth by the State of California,” the department added.
Some protesters carried signs such as “Quarantine the sick, not the healthy!” and “Open Cali now,” according to ABC News, which reported that the event was described as a march for “freedom, liberty and reopening the California economy.”
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 17, 2020
Newsom didn’t directly respond to the protest but said in a tweet, “CA is flattening the curve — but we MUST continue to take this seriously. Stay home.”
NEW: CA has 27,528 confirmed positive cases of #COVID19.
3,180 of those cases are in our hospitals. 1,174 of those are in the ICU.
CA is flattening the curve — but we MUST continue to take this seriously.
Practice physical distancing.#StayHomeSaveLives
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 17, 2020
As of Saturday, California has 29,398 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 1,050 deaths, according to data compiled by The New York Times.
President Trump, who has been adamant about states reopening their economies as quickly as possible, took to Twitter himself on Friday, issuing a series of tweets calling to “LIBERATE” Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia.