By Travis Fedschun | Fox News
Hundreds of people gathered Sunday in Southern California to protest the state’s stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the latest in a growing number of demonstrations nationwide.
The protesters assembled in San Clemente, near the city’s pier, before marching a half-mile through town joined by drivers who honked in support.
Leigh Dundas, a human rights attorney, said she was concerned about public health and joined in the rally because she was equally concerned about the need to “defend constitutional rights.”
“I understand there is a virus. I understand that it is serious, but the Constitution was meant to be used in times such as these,” Dundas told FOX11. “I don’t believe that locking us indefinitely in our houses with very few of our First Amendment rights for a period of months, possibly years, is something that is allowed under the Constitution even with the gravity of the virus.”
Demonstrators on Sunday in San Clemente, Calif. gathered to protest California’s stay-at-home order meant to slow the spread of coronavirus. (FOX11)
The group in Southern California was one of many protests that have gathered in the last week as some Americans have chosen to publically share their concerns over their livelihoods and infringements on their freedom.
Shutdowns related due to COVID-19 have disrupted all aspects of American life on an economic, social, religious and cultural level.
Small-government groups and supporters of President Trump have in turn staged demonstrations in several cities in both Republican and Democratic-led states. The largest protest drew thousands to Lansing, Mich., on Wednesday, and others have featured hundreds in several states.
President Trump defends protests against stay-at-home orders as there is a growing resistance; Congressman Brian Mast weighs in.
The president has said people have “cabin fever” and want to “get their life back,” and last week appeared to give his endorsement to the demonstrations, tweeting calls on Friday to “LIBERATE” Minnesota, Virginia, and Michigan — all of which have Democratic governors.
Attendees of the Sunday rally in San Clemente did not practice social distancing guidelines by standing close together and many did not wear masks.
Hundreds gathered Sunday in San Clemente, Calif., gathered to protest California’s stay-at-home order meant to slow the spread of coronavirus. (FOX11)
Many were pictured wearing red, white and blue clothing, hugging, and carrying signs that read “No Liberty, No Life, Re-open California,” “Our Freedom Is Not Yours to Take,” and “Pandemics does NOT cancel our Constitutional rights!! Freedom over fear.”
Hundreds gathered Sunday in San Clemente, Calif. gathered to protest California’s stay-at-home order meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The few who appeared to counterprotest the rally said they thought the stay-at-home order was necessary and that officials should not ease restrictions.
“We don’t have enough adequate information for us to really bring society back to the point where we are,” Michelle Carney told FOX11.
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Protesters in states like Michigan and Kentucky push their governors to get back to work; Mike Tobin has an update.
Donna Vidrine, who has worked as a nurse for over 40 years, told FOX11 she thought the demonstrators were “disrespecting the health care professionals.”
“Nurses and doctors do not have the choice to stay home,” Vidrine told FOX11. “We have to take care of these people who are gathering against the rules of the city of San Clemente.”
There were heated moments between the two groups, but the Orange County Sheriff’s Department told the Orange County Register that no arrests or citations were reported.
Protesters also took aim at the media covering the event with signs such as “The Media Is the Virus.”
Hundreds gathered Sunday in San Clemente, Calif. gathered to protest California’s stay-at-home order meant to slow the spread of coronavirus. (FOX11)
A photographer from FOX11 was intentionally coughed on by a protester who did not agree with news coverage, but is expected to be OK, according to the station.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said over the weekend that protesters should practice social distancing and “do so safely” when expressing their free speech.
“This virus knows no political ideology. It doesn’t know if you’re a Republican or Democrat, supporting the president, opposing the president,” the governor said Saturday. “Practice physical distancing. Make sure that you’re not infecting others. Even if you feel healthy, you have no symptoms, you’re asymptomatic. You can spread this.”
As of Sunday, there were 30,832 cases of COVID-19 in California with at least 1,150 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Fox News’ Sam Dorman and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com.
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