About 150 people gathered at Coast Highway and Ocean Avenue on Saturday afternoon to protest Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order and advocate for the immediate reopening of California’s economy.
The protests landed two days after Newsom ordered the closure of Orange County beaches to prevent another weekend where thousands of people gathered in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, and to lesser extent county-owned beaches in South Laguna.
One protest kicked-off around 1:30 p.m. at Park and Legion avenues with about 40 people gathering in front of the Laguna Beach High School marquee. Some waved American and “Don’t Treat On Me” flags while others carried signs emblazoned with “We Do Not Consent” and “LB Can Open Safely.”
Laguna Beach resident Jennifer Sterling spoke over a portable loudspeaker system to protestors before the group marched down Park Avenue. The group marched along 3rd Street toward Laguna Beach City Hall where they unfurled a 20-foot-wide banner that, among other things, read “Locking Down Health People Isn’t Quarantine — It’s Prison.”
“I think it’s awesome to see so many patriots come out and to stand side-by-side across the aisle with a topic that’s important to all of us,” Sterling said. “It’s not just an economic hardship for the small town we have of 23,000 [residents] but it’s actually a mental burden on so many people.”
As protestors walked down Forest Avenue to Coast Highway they chanted, “we want our town back. Open up our shops.” A young girl cut in on a loudspeaker to say she wanted to go back to school.
At Coast Highway and Ocean, they were greeted by another group of protesters and a consistent stream of honking cars and revving motorcycles.
Laguna Beach police officers were on scene to monitor to protest and keep people on the sidewalk. A single-engine plane circled above Main Beach towing a banner with an image of Newsom with a Hitler mustache next to “end his tyranny!”
This is only half of the story. Further details were either left out or the story went to press before the crowd took down the orange fence across Main Beach Park, and marched to the ocean in defiance of the law and police carrying a large “Trump 2020” flag.
Apparently, these protestors missed the memo that the Governor didn’t shut down Laguna Beaches? They’ve been shut down for over a month because the town wanted to stay safe and keep all of these outsiders from bringing the virus here.
I know–it was awesome!
Correct Jennifer. Our city officials and city management determined that under the current circumstances they could not responsibly take care of residents they serve and manage the number of visitors our beaches attract. Especially with the decrease in staffing. It’s a no-brainer and while inconvenient, it was the right thing to do. Many protesters were here promoting their State level political agendas. They don’t give a darn about our town or it’s residents. Laguna Beach residents have a voice and they should be working with our city officials to reopen businesses and outdoor recreational activities safely. No need for such a display in such a time of crisis. Truly disappointing.