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California’s Capitol Grounds To Be Fenced-Off In Anticipation Of Another Demonstration

People gathered at the California Capitol to protest the state's stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Friday, May 1, 2020.
Andrew Nixon/CapRadio
People gathered at the California Capitol to protest the state's stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Friday, May 1, 2020.

The state Capitol grounds in downtown Sacramento will be fenced-off on Thursday as California Highway Patrol and legislative leaders anticipate a “large” demonstration against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order.

Emails from legislative leaders to Capitol staff on Wednesday evening state that “a large group of unpermitted protesters are planning a peaceful gathering” at the west steps on Thursday beginning at 11 a.m., and that those who want to enter the building will need a legislative identification card.

A spokesperson with CHP was not immediately available to discuss any plans for the demonstration. There are no permits listed under May 7 on the CHP’s website.

The emails, from the Senate and Assembly rules committees, urge staffers to not come to work on Thursday.

“Unless you have an absolutely essential need to be in the Capitol or the LOB [Legislative Office Building] tomorrow, it is highly recommended that you remain at home and work remotely,” one email reads.

Protesters have converged on the Capitol in recent weeks to decry Newsom’s order and demand that the state allow businesses to reopen. Many demonstrators did not wear masks or face coverings, and others gathered closely, ignoring guidelines to keep at least 6 feet from other people.

On Friday, CHParrested 32 demonstrators during the largest gathering to date.

Several groups have created Facebook event pages to promote an 11 a.m. demonstration on Thursday.

The Freedom Angels, a group that in the past has demonstrated against state-mandated vaccinations,posted an event claiming Newsom forced CHP officers to betray the people they’re supposed to protect and “blurred” the “thin blue line” at last Friday’s demonstration.

In a separate Facebook event page, also promoting Thursday’s protest, the Freedom Angels also aims to involve religious organizations.

The event, titled “Freedom Angels set protest on National Day of Prayer,” states that a pastor who was arrested last Friday, Tim Thompson, will join them.

Newsom did not give an order for arrests at last week’s protest and has deferred to CHP on how to manage the protests. He has urged demonstrators to demonstrate safely.

Last week, a CHP spokesperson said officers arrested the 32 protesters for failing to leave an unpermitted gathering that was jeopardizing public health.

After the first Capitol demonstration against the stay-at-home order, a CHP spokesperson said the department would be issuing permits for Capitol events on a case-by-case basis.

The Capitol grounds, which sees events year-round, does not have any permitted events scheduled until May 25.

Copyright 2020 CapRadio

Nick Miller