Research shows that the majority of Angelenos (95%) support the city's stay-at-home policy if it means slowing the spread of coronavirus.
But today in downtown L.A. a vocal group of anti-lockdown protesters gathered near City Hall. About 50 cars lined up to honk and hold up signs with messages like "lock up the sick, not the free" and "the science is clear, re-open California." The protest was organized by a Facebook group called Operation Gridlock, which has made some waves across the country, even as its origins have come under scrutiny.
Only about 10 individuals protested on the street, outside of their cars.
Happening now: Protesters gather Wednesday in their cars around Los Angeles City Hall in downtown, demanding California lift stay-at-home orders and reopen businesses despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.-- LAist (@LAist) April 22, 2020
🎥: @chavatweets1 pic.twitter.com/0rugfA0A49
The local version of the event was noticeably smaller than a similar protest Friday that drew a crowd of over 200 in Huntington Beach. (Including a man who was arrested after allegedly threatening a Fox 11 photographer with a knife.) Many of those protestors were not social distancing or wearing masks.
The L.A. Facebook page for protestors appears to have been taken down by Facebook, who according to the Wall Street Journal, is banning posts that encourage members to violate government health guidelines.
NPR reported that Fox News personalities have been showing heavy support for these protests on the air, despite calls from a top executive at the network to encourage protestors to abide by social distancing standards.
NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik wrote:
"The liberal watchdog group Media Matters found that Fox News had devoted more than six hours over the past week to the protests, despite the fact that they have drawn relatively small crowds."
LAist photographer Chava Sanchez documented the event in L.A. to capture the tone of those protesting the safer-at-home orders.