More than 500 demonstrators gathered at Huntington Beach on Friday to protest against stay-at-home ordinances in California.
The number of attendees on Friday was more extensive than a previous demonstration at the same site two weeks ago, when around 200 protesters showed up at the beach's pier, according to the Los Angeles Times.
This time, the crowd joined at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street, carrying signs and calling for Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomNewsom pledges increased spending on busting retail crime rings The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Shipwreck sends waste thousands of miles MORE (D) to lift lockdown orders.
Police and sheriff's deputies on horseback, on foot and on motorcycles set up skirmish lines to keep protesters out of the street in front of the Huntington Beach Pier, where thousands have amassed to rally against the governor's closure of OC beaches. https://t.co/6QmVcT7BeM pic.twitter.com/8KO2DCrPTe— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) May 1, 2020
NEW: Aerial footage shows hundreds gathered in Huntington Beach, California, to protest Governor Newsom's stay-at-home orders and beach closures in Orange County, many without masks and defying COVID-19 social distance guidelines as they blocked traffic. https://t.co/LTKYWFhdnU pic.twitter.com/2IdJXwDR6C— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) May 1, 2020
Protesters shouted "No more Newsom" and "Freedom" at a demonstration in Huntington Beach today.— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) May 1, 2020
Hundereds gathered to protest the stay-at-home order and closure of Orange County's beaches, both of which were issued by California's governor. https://t.co/sXEE9z111S pic.twitter.com/Xg70IqhTbi
The governor ordered Orange County beaches to close Thursday, weeks after Los Angeles County closed its beaches, the report added.
Police officers mounted on horses were present to control the crowd as protesters walked, biked and skateboarded down the road; most, if not all, were reportedly violating social distancing guidelines of six feet of separation.
Sheriff Don Barnes of Orange County said his department would not actively seek to arrest people on beaches within his jurisdiction, including Dana Point and San Clemente, the report said.
"As long as people are social distancing and doing what they're expected to do, the sheriff does not have interest in criminalizing people enjoying the beach," sheriff's spokeswoman Carrie Braun said.
Newsom said last weekend that politics or protests would not sway his decision to reopen the state, adding that the resolution would be determined "by science."
He announced during a Friday press briefing that he understood concerns from protesters, adding that easement of some stay-at-home restrictions would happen in the coming days, the LA Times reported.
Newsom furthered that the only thing that could advance the spread of COVID-19 is not practicing social distancing, encouraging citizens to remain vigilant in exercising the government's protocols.
"If we can avoid that, then we're going to get to the other side of this with modifications a lot quicker," he said. "And I just hope people will consider that."