Dozens of demonstrators in Huntington Beach, southern California blocked a roadway as part of a protest against a coronavirus curfew imposed on nearly the entire state.

Videos posted to social media show a large crowd of people, many carrying American flags and pro-Trump banners, standing near an intersection. Some of the protesters then poured into the street, prompting loud honks from nearby vehicles. One stranded truck appeared to ‘honk’ a supportive tune, eliciting cheers from the crowd.

The gathering was scheduled to begin at 10:01pm on Saturday night, exactly one minute after a new curfew was imposed on the beachside community. According to the new rule, people are prohibited from going outside between 10pm and 5am unless they are traveling for essential work, responding to an emergency or shopping for groceries. The curfew was imposed on 41 of California’s 58 counties that have been placed in the state’s ‘purple’ tier, the most restrictive of the government’s four levels of economic reopening during the Covid-19 crisis. 

The protest, despite its modest size, caused ‘Huntington Beach’ to trend on Twitter, as both supporters and critics weighed in on the small act of civil disobedience. 

According to local media, Orange County sheriffs, as well as other Southern California law enforcement officials, have already signaled that they would not be actively enforcing the curfew. However, the group could still be ordered to disperse if an unlawful assembly is declared. 

Huntington Beach has seen numerous protests against lockdowns and other Covid-19 restrictions, with intermittent rallies held starting in April.

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‘Should have modeled better behavior,’ California governor says after attending party that breaks his own strict Covid-19 advice

California imposed strict measures as the state saw a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, including limitations on household gatherings and issuing travel advisories ahead of the Thanksgiving holidays. California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has strongly supported the restrictions, was forced to apologize after it was revealed that had attended a birthday party with people from more than three different households earlier this month, in violation of his own Covid-19 guidelines.

The state has registered 1,087,714 positive coronavirus tests, and 18,643 Covid-related deaths, since the start of the pandemic.

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