Officers arrested two people who ran onto the closed Huntington Beach Pier Saturday during a protest against the state’s stay-at-home orders aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, authorities said.
A man and woman hopped over the fencing and ran to the end of the pier around 5 p.m., Huntington Beach Police Department Lt. Ryan Reilly told KTLA.
The two were booked on suspicion of entering the closed area and then released with a citation, Reilly said.
Though the city has reopened its beaches, the Huntington Beach Pier, the beach playground and open grass and picnic areas are closed, according to the city’s guidelines.
The demonstrators were seen clad in red, white and blue, some carrying flags and others holding signs supporting President Donald Trump or calling for the full reopening of beaches. Many were seen crowding close together without face masks.
Video showed officers, both on horseback and on foot, keeping watch as the demonstrators chanted.
Defying social distancing guidelines, protesters have been gathering by the hundreds in Huntington Beach for weeks to speak out against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home orders and call for the reopening of California.
Friday and Saturday’s protests were notably smaller than that on May 1, which drew more than 2,500 people after the city announced it would pursue legal action against Newsom’s order to close Orange County beaches.
Five days later, the governor said he reached an agreement with Huntington Beach and lifted the state-mandated “hard closure,” with restrictions.
Huntington Beach opened beaches and bike paths for physical activity only, between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. The city prohibited all gatherings, sunbathing, loitering and passive games.
Friday’s protest drew a smaller counter-protest: three demonstrators dressed as the Grim Reaper, the Los Angeles Times reported.
One held a sign reading, “My son went to the protest but I got COVID-19.”