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Protesters Rally Against Coronavirus 'Stay-At-Home' Order In Downtown San Diego

Protesters rally in downtown San Diego against the state's stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, April 18, 2020.
Max Rivlin-Nadler
Protesters rally in downtown San Diego against the state's stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, April 18, 2020.

Over a hundred people gathered in downtown San Diego on Saturday afternoon to honk horns and protest the governor's stay-at-home order, as part of a week of demonstrations against similar measures taking place nationwide.

California residents have been following strict guidelines statewide to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed 71 people in San Diego County.

Bunched tightly on sidewalks, people chanted “U-S-A,” flew American flags, and held signs saying that the stay-at-home order is infringing on their constitutional rights.

There were no attempts by police to enforce the county's own stay-at-home orders, or to keep people at least six feet apart.

The San Diego Police Department told KPBS that they decided beforehand not to enforce the law at this time. Lieutenant Shawn Takeuchi told KPBS that the police department recognized that people want to voice their frustrations and concerns in a peaceful way.

VIDEO: Protesters Gather Across U.S., Including San Diego, To Protest Coronavirus Stay At Home Orders

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The spokesperson said he hoped that after they’d done so, the crowd would disperse, and that the same policy had been followed in other protests that took over city sidewalks prior to the pandemic.

A local pediatrician, Dr. Eric Reed, told KPBS he called the police and said, “I am a doctor. I understand the right to free speech, but they are endangering the lives of the public by breaking the social distancing mandate.”

Reed said the police planned to dispatch officers to the scene.

Rally organizer Naomi Israel posted on Facebook after the protest, “Thank you to everyone who came today and made it what it was. This is the revolution!!!!! The people have not seen anything yet, the next one will be BIGGER!”

California currently has no set end date for its stay-at-home order. Governor Gavin Newsom has said the state will coordinate with the governors of Washington and Oregon on when to relax restrictions on movement and businesses.

Protesters Rally Against Coronavirus 'Stay-At-Home' Order In Downtown San Diego
Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.