State police in California are toeing the line set by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, announcing a de-facto temporary ban on all protests on state property.
In an authoritarian knee-jerk response to Monday protests at the state capitol in Sacramento, the California Highway Patrol has decided to simply stop issuing permits for protests at state facilities until it is “safe” to do so.
“Permits are issued to provide safe environments for demonstrators to express their views,” the CHP, which serves as the state’s police force, said in a statement to The Sacramento Bee.
“In this case, the permit for the convoy was issued with the understanding that the protest would be conducted in a manner consistent with the state’s public health guidance. That is not what occurred, and CHP will take this experience into account when considering permits for this or any other group.”
For now, there will be no protesting on state grounds.
“In the interest of public safety and the health of all Californians during the COVID-19 pandemic, effective immediately the California Highway Patrol will deny any permit requests for events or activities at all state facilities, to include the State Capitol, until public health officials have determined it is safe to gather again,” the CHP said.
Even before the protests and police action, Newsom threatened the use of martial law against California citizens.
Protesters were demonstrating against the governor’s strict stay-at-home order, which requires “all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence” unless they are obtaining supplies or health care. The order does not apply to workers deemed “essential” who are traveling to and from work.
California cities have largely followed the path cut by Newsom.
One city, San Clemente, even took a page from a 1990s teen movie villain’s book by dumping 37 tons of sand in a skate park used by children and young adults.
For places like Los Angeles, where some 50 percent of the workforce is unemployed, the toll that the lockdown has taken is clear.
When the order is eventually allowed to expire by the governor, the state’e economy will be forced to play catch-up as the dust settles. The businesses that survive the pandemic will have their pick from a sea of job applicants, but it’s unclear how many jobs will be waiting when the economy opens up.
Demonstrators looking to express their disapproval with the government will have to think creatively now that the CHP has taken a potent protesting location away.
Prohibiting peaceful dissenters from making their voice heard on state-owned grounds is a shocking new low, even for California.
California remains a hot spot for COVID-19, and it’s unclear when the stay-at-home order will end. Until that time arrives, workers deemed “nonessential” in the state are forced to stay home and, in many cases, lose their ability to earn any sort of income.
As we saw with the Chinese city of Wuhan, lengthy lockdowns take a major toll on communities.
For California, it seems the state that emerges from the pandemic will likely look very, very different.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.