By: Sophia Burick | Editor in Chief
May 1, 2020
By noon on April 19th, about 200 people gathered in the pier bowl area of San Clemente to protest the state-wide stay-at-home orders placed earlier this month to halt the spread of coronavirus. Many protesters donned red, white, and blue, as well as apparel supporting President Donald Trump, reflecting their support for his recent comments pushing to reopen the United States as soon as possible, largely going against the advice of health professionals. A majority of protesters were not wearing cloth face coverings as recommended by the Center for Disease Control.
The protestors marched from the pier to Del Mar, carrying signs reading “Lockdown is Tyranny,” “My Body, My Risk, My Choice,” The Media Is the Virus,” and “My Freedom is Essential” as well as “Make America Great Again” flags. By 4 PM that day, no arrests or citations were made despite police presence. On the same day, similar protests occurred in Huntington Beach and San Diego.
“You can’t protest a virus,” San Clemente High School senior Chloe Kamp said.
Throughout the next week, Orange County residents from Newport Beach to San Clemente flouted stay-at-home orders and attended the beach in droves, attracting the ire of Governor Newsom in his address last Thursday. This week the SC Times also reported the first new coronavirus cases in San Clemente in nearly two weeks.
In retaliation to Orange County’s lack of compliance to state orders compared to other counties across the state, Newsom ordered all Orange County beaches to close, and these rules went into effect today.
Today protestors, in a similar fashion to the protest on April 19th, took to the streets again in San Clemente and Huntington beach in crowds reported to be of nearly 500 people. Many signs and slogans disparaged Governor Newsom’s “tyranny” over the State of California. Many local officials, including San Clemente Councilmember Gene James and Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, issues statements in support of the protestors.
“I understand that people are frustrated, but these protests will do nothing but endanger public health and extend closures,” SCHS senior Kate McKernan said. “It’s also pretty ironic that the same people who tout a respect for authority when police are questioned for brutalizing black people are the same ones flouting state mandates so that they can go surfing.”