'Curfew Breakers:' Hundreds Protest In Huntington Beach

Kat Schuster
·4 min read

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA — Nearly 400 people amassed in front of Huntington Beach pier around 10 p.m. Saturday night to decry a new statewide curfew. The reissued stay-at-home order, which began Saturday night, was instated by Gov. Gavin Newsom to mitigate a recent surge in coronavirus cases.

Many self-proclaimed "curfew breakers" danced in a huddle, wearing and waving American flags while chanting "USA!" Footage circulating on Twitter showed groups of people riding bicycles adorned with lights and a driver in a truck was seen carrying a handful of people dancing in a truck bed. Some picketers in the massive crowd wore masks, and many donned president Donald Trump's paraphernalia.

Despite the large presence of demonstrators out past the state's new curfew, law enforcement did not declare an illegal assembly, and only one arrest was made for public intoxication, according to Huntington Beach police Lt. Ryan Reilly.

The group was law-abiding "for the most part," Reilly said. "Some, not all" wore face masks.

The Curfew Breaker demonstration was scheduled to begin at 10:01 p.m. Crowds gathered Saturday along Pacific Coast Highway at Main Street, crossing the highway when allowed by the traffic light, Reilly said.

By 11:30 p.m., the crowd had thinned considerably, with about half remaining, according to Reilly, who was monitoring the gathering via surveillance cameras.

The protest ended shortly after midnight, he said.

It appeared the vehicles passing through the area were part of the demonstration and the same vehicles were seen moving north and south on PCH, Reilly said.

Officers were there watching the activity but no illegal assembly was declared, he said.

Sergeants posted up along the Main Street area reported that all of the bars, restaurants and other businesses were closed by 10 p.m., Reilly said.

The department did not issue citations for curfew violations, he said. "We are seeking compliance and trying to educate people."

Many carried signs that leveled insults at Newsom and the new emergency orders. Several signs read "Recall Newsom."

The governor was recently criticized for attending a birthday dinner at upcale Napa restaurant French Laundry with more than three households, going against the state's safetyguidlines on gatherings.

Newsom apologized for the action last week, admitting that he shouldn't have been there.

The Golden State added a record high of 15,442 new coronavirus cases Saturday, coinciding with the first day of the state's new stay-at-home order. The emergency order includes a statewide curfew that will go into effect for 94 percent of residents at 10 p.m. Saturday evening.

The new curfew, which began Saturday and was instated by Newsom, prohibits nonessential businesses, movement and gatherings with other households from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for all residents living in widespread or purple tiered counties, including Orange County. The new mandate, which ends on Dec. 21, affects 37 million Californians.

The overnight stay-at-home order came just days after the governor announced that cases had doubled in Caliornia over a 10-day period, prompting him to rollback reopening plans for much of the state.

What you need to know about California's Limited Stay-At-Home Order:

  • All nonessential businesses, including bars, restaurants, clothing shops, etc. will be closed after 10 p.m.

  • Prohibits nonessential movement from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in counties under the purple, widespread tier restrictions.

  • Californians in purple counties may still move about after 10 p.m. to buy groceries, go for a walk, pick up takeout orders or visit essential services.

  • Gatherings and interactions with outside households are prohibited after 10 p.m. in purple counties.

  • The order does not apply to Californians experiencing homelessness.

  • The order expires Dec. 21, just a few days before Christmas and the New Year, but it could be extended.

    The City News Service contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on the Orange County Patch