Hundreds of demonstrators gathered Friday in Huntington Beach, California, a day after the governor announced an order to close all beaches in Orange County.
Despite recommendations from public health officials that people socially distance, large crowds were packed shoulder-to-shoulder near the popular Huntington Beach Pier. Most were not wearing masks.
Demonstrators were seen waving American flags, and carrying Trump 2020 signs and posters disparaging California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Some signs labeled Newsom a “terrorist” and “traitor.” Protesters with bullhorns were heard shouting messages supporting President Trump’s re-election.
While the crowd has remained peaceful, dozens of law enforcement officers are patrolling the event, including SWAT teams in tactical gear and police helicopters overhead. Out of sight from protesters, riot patrol officers on horseback staged under the Huntington Beach Pier, with one officer telling CNN they were here “just in case.”
While the beach is technically closed, officers did not appear to be enforcing the governor’s new closure order.
One protester walked past a line of officers blocking access to the beach and asked police officers if he was breaking the law. The officer responded, “Yes, you are technically entering an unauthorized area,” but did not stop the protester as he proceeded past the line of officers and to the ocean.