During the weekend, protests against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide California curfew were held throughout the state, drawing thousands to break the curfew.
The curfew, which went into effect for 95% of the state starting on Saturday, was immediately met with resistance from citizens who opposed such an order, with many calling into question the legality of it and how it would be detrimental to family gatherings or other needs not covered by the curfew exceptions from 10 PM to 5 AM.
In Bakersfield and Fresno, crowds of about 100 each turned up. Many San Diegans opted for more smaller sporadic protests on street corners, with a group of about 50 protesting outside of Chico city Hall up north. A group of about 100 also protested in Redding.
However, many other areas had much larger protests, or protests outside of high-profile areas. Both Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti had large protests outside each of their residences. In the case of Garcetti’s protest on Sunday, the decision of LA County to shut down all outdoor restaurant business during the weekend also played a large factor.
The largest protest, of which more than 400 people attended, was held in Huntington Beach alongside the Pacific Coast Highway. The Huntington Beach protest, held by people calling themselves “Curfew Breakers” started at 10P.M. Saturday, coinciding directly with the official start of the statewide curfew.
Still going strong here in Huntington Beach, CA protesting Newsom’s “curfew.” 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/raCzuQkqNY
— Trevor 🇺🇸 (@SoCal4Trump) November 22, 2020
“The curfew won’t do anything,” noted San Diego curfew organizer Stephanie Driscoll. “This is why you’re seeing protesters everywhere. Nothing the state is doing is working, and now they’re limiting our lives, our personal liberties, even further for, what, not going out when most people are sleeping anyway?”
Protests, curfews, and non-enforcement
While there has yet to be a state response to the protests, Governor Newsom and other state officials made it clear last week that this was a measure to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in California and to flatten the curve of the virus.
“COVID-19 is on the rise,” tweeted the California Department of Public Health on Monday in response to questions over travelling during the curfew. “Keep the numbers down by staying close to home. Only travel if essential. If you travel: 1. Wear a mask 2. Physical distance 3. Self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning to California.”
#COVID19 is on the rise. Keep the numbers down by staying close to home. Only travel if essential.
— CA Public Health (@CAPublicHealth) November 23, 2020
Despite the order, a majority of law enforcement organizations in the state said that they wouldn’t actively be enforcing the stay at home order. The Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, Sacramento PD, Stockton PD, Placer County Sheriff’s Department, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department, and many Northern and Southern California Departments are among those who have said that they would not be enforcing it.
“Look at what happened at Huntington Beach,” explained former law enforcement public relations worker Neil Washington to the Globe. “All those people were out, but all the police did was watch.
“In most jurisdictions, they are focusing on educating people and telling people what the current laws are. They generally aren’t running around and ticketing people. To them, this is just such a minor thing compared to robberies and assaults and other crimes that are reported. This shouldn’t be a call to actively be doing it, but in most places right now, you can go out for a walk at 11 P.M. and the worst thing that will happen, again, in most, not all, places, is that a cop will come by, tell you about the state curfew, and then suggest you go home. If they aren’t enforcing it, they can really only talk to you about it and hope you choose to do so.”
The state curfew is to stay in effect until December 21st. Local law enforcement jurisdictions may also change how they deal with enforcement in the coming weeks.
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