200-plus gather in Huntington Beach to protest stay-at-home orders: 'We've complied long enough'

The "March for Freedom" drew the large crowds of people, many of whom were not adhering to physical distancing guidelines or wearing face masks.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- More than 200 protesters gathered in Huntington Beach on Friday to demand the reopening of California's economy while simultaneously defying stay-at-home orders to not congregate in large groups.

Officers responded to the intersection of Walnut Avenue and Main Street where some were walking in the middle of the street and "carrying signs with large sticks that could be used as weapons," according to the Huntington Beach Police Department.

The department says the crowd was initially small but quickly grew by 1:30 p.m.

The "March for Freedom" drew the crowds of people, many of whom were not adhering to physical distancing guidelines or wearing face masks.

"I think it's really important during this time that Americans that are tired of this lockdown, shutdown... We've complied long enough. Let's open up the country," said Lisa Collins.

Authorities say the protest remained peaceful and did not result in any arrests.

"Although this event was peaceful, we do not encourage our residents to loosen their social distancing practices just yet. It is still not okay to gather in groups," the department said in a statement.

Similar protests were held across the country on Friday including in Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. The signs of frustration come as President Trump has pushed for easing stay-at-home orders and tried to look ahead to restarting the economy.

Pro-Trump protesters push back on stay-at-home orders
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In places like Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia, small-government groups, supporters of President Donald Trump, anti-vaccine advocates, gun rights backers and supporters of right-wing causes have united behind a deep suspicion of efforts to shut down daily life to slow the spread of the coronavirus.



The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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