A new viral video shows protesters clashing with police officers in a protest against coronavirus restrictions, and social media is scratching its collective head. The clip was recorded in Sacramento, California, according to the person who originally posted it, at a "Fully Open CA" rally on Friday. Many viewers argue that the police should have broken up the rally over public health concerns.
The video came from a Twitter account called Left Coast Right Watch — dedicated to informing left-leaning political readers on the trends in right-leaning media. The account shared videos and pictures from the rally throughout the day on Friday, but the clip of protesters clashing with police got the most attention. It recorded protesters at the state capitol, milling from the sidewalk up the stone steps and right up against a line of police. The officers ordered the protesters to move back onto the sidewalk, leading to "a bit of a scuffle."
*Blinks in BLM* pic.twitter.com/AtXQB6Crru— TyreeBP (@TyreeBP) May 3, 2020
Protesters screamed at police at the top of their lungs, continuing to move forward until their faces were inches apart. Many brandished signs or flags, while police stood their ground. According to Left Coast Right Watch, the police eventually succeeded in quelling the flare up and moving the crowd gradually backwards. They claimed that one person was arrested in the incident.
The Twitter user also shared some of the most striking quotes they heard in all the confusion, such as: "You guys are supposed to protect us!" and "officers! Remember your oath!" However, some respondents on Twitter argued that the police had more obligation to protect the public from the protesters, as the protesters were the ones violating the states stay-at-home order.
Twitter users also compared the police response at this protest to the response at other ones, including prominent Black Lives Matter protests in the last few years. Some argued that the police would have been much more forceful if the crowd in Sacramento had not been predominately white.
“You guys are supposed to protect *us!”
“OFFICERS! OFFICERS! REMEMBER YOUR OATH!” pic.twitter.com/A0gUBRXe5X— Left Coast Right Watch (@LCRWnews) May 1, 2020
According to a report by The New York Times, Friday's protest in Sacrament was organized by "prominent conservative operatives," including the people behind the Freedom Angels Foundation, a California-based organization that opposes mandatory vaccinations. The times reported that "Tea Party activists and armed militia groups" took part as well.
Public health experts say that social distancing must continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. For the latest on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.