People gather at City Hall to protest COVID-19 restrictions

On the morning of Saturday, Dec. 12, , a group of people gathered at Long Beach City Hall to protest the restrictions that were put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Upon arrival, the crowd was small, some of the protesters were confused on where the gathering was taking place. A small group of 7 people had gathered at the front of City Hall, but as that group walked down the plaza, they were met with a larger crowd who had gathered just off Ocean Blvd. and Chestnut Ave.

The protest was led by Eric Christopher, a local resident and business owner. The group gathered consisted primarily of middle aged residents who got together through the reach of an online flyer on Instagram shared by the group Long Beach Area Republicans with the headline “Open California”.

Lenka Koloma, founder of the Freedom to Breathe Agency, which is a group of people who are dedicated to protecting civil liberties and rights in America, was born in Communist Czechoslovakia and said that the state of America now is worse than the communist country she grew up in. 

“I was able to play with my friends, I was able to get food without being muzzled,” Koloma told the group. “This is much worse than what I escaped thirty years ago. And I escaped communism to come for freedom and personal liberty” 

Koloma and many of the others who attended the protest viewed the local officials who passed health regulations as domestic threats. “I took an oath that I will uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foriegn, and domestic. That is exactly what I am doing right now, right here and I will not stop. I will put my life on the line to combat these globalists,” Koloma said to the crowd. 

Protesters listen to business owners and employees speak at the rally on Dec. 12

The state and LA County recently saw tightened restrictions after Gov. Newsom divided the state up into 5 sections to monitor ICU bed capacity. The Southern California section which reaches into LA, Orange, and San Bernardino, counties reported a 5.3% ICU capacity on Saturday which is well below the 15% capacity that is needed to stay open. 

Despite local health orders which mandated people wear masks when out in gatherings or when meeting with people outside a single household, many of the people in attendance of today’s rally were not wearing facial coverings. 

Despite a surge in cases and hospitals filling up, local officials are hopeful that the recently approved Pfizer COVID vaccine could provide a light at the end of the tunnel.