California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new overnight curfew for his state that was set to begin Saturday night to mitigate a new spike in COVID-19 cases.
However, on Saturday night, hundreds of people, labeling themselves the “Curfew Breakers,” showed up to Huntington Beach to protest the latest restrictions.
An announcement about the protest appeared on social media earlier in the week.
“Huntington Beach Curfew Breakers!” the online flyer read. “If you are a free American and are more than non-essential, join us for a clear act of defiance against Newsom’s stay-at-home order. Come to Huntington Beach Pier, 10:01 p.m. Saturday Nov. 21.”
Huntington Beach police Lt. Ryan Reilly told NBC Los Angeles that police did not intend to issue citations for curfew violations.
“We are seeking compliance and trying to educate people,” Reilly said.
After Gov. Newson announced the new curfew, several California sheriffs said they had no plans to enforce the curfew, including Orange County’s sheriff, where Huntington Beach is located.
“We’ve got a lot of things to do, including taking guns away from gang members, stopping narcotic trafficking, and saving children from internet predators,” Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said during a video briefing Thursday afternoon, according to Fresno’s FOX 26.
“We’re not gonna make criminals of normally law-abiding citizens.”
A similar rally was also held in San Clemente, where protesters were seen burning masks.
Gov. Newsom announced the curfew last week, which is set to last until Dec. 21, as a measure to combat the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The limited stay-at-home order applies to 41 counties in California and includes 94% of the state’s residents.
“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic, and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge,’’ Newsom said in a statement. “We are sounding the alarm.”
The governor has been facing backlash for violating his own orders.
Most recently, he was spotted dining maskless with a group at The French Laundry, an exclusive restaurant in California’s Wine Country.
The governor later described his dinner event as a “ bad mistake.”
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