LONG BEACH — An hour-long Saturday afternoon peaceful protest in Long Beach attracted about 60 opposed to Gov. Jay Inslee’s re-tightened restrictions on businesses and personal gatherings.
State Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, playing gadfly this year in various demonstrations challenging covid safety measures, came to Veterans Field to listen to local concerns about the statewide clampdown.
Several signs lined the grass declaring “Open business now!” “Legislation not Domination!” “Lockdown Inslee” and “Freedom is Essential” as dozens assembled to make their voices heard and sign a petition.
The main impetus for the gathering was opposition to Inslee’s proclamation limiting attendance in restaurants, taverns, retail stores, gyms and churches, according to Facebook post shared by organizers on social media ahead of the event.
On Nov. 15, Inslee announced the most recent set of statewide restrictions to help curb the spread of covid-19. Changes include closing indoor dining at bars and restaurants, limiting in-store retail to 25% capacity, and other restrictions through Monday, Dec. 14. Perhaps most controversially, the governor’s order prohibits indoor gatherings with people outside the household unless they meet quarantine and testing requirements. Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people, calling into question the legality of Saturday’s protest.
The limits are governmental overreach and an abuse of power, according to protestors, many of whom signed a petition in support of proposed Initiative 1114, which seeks to limit emergency proclamations issued by the governor to no longer than 14 days unless extended by a vote of the Legislature.
Several attendees wearing shirts from nearby Funland stood in solidarity for initiative, but declined to express their views to the Observer. However, a few in attendance shared their reasons for supporting and attending the protest:
“This is a righteous protest. The people running Funland and the ice cream shop and many others have been impacted badly by these proclamations and we want to raise awareness of it happening. We want to do whatever we can with the law and levers of government to help them out. Stuff like this is happening all around the state. These small businesses are upset and their righteously upset. What’s happening is not scientific. It’s not legal. It’s politics in its worst form.”
—State Rep. Jim Walsh
“I wanted to meet some like-minded people because I think conservatives get overshadowed. I think that Gov. Inslee has overreached. I don’t think it’s fair to unilaterally treat the whole state the same when some others are more effected than others.”
“…I think there should be more transparency in the data. I think the numbers are skewed. Just because people were tested doesn’t mean that they were positive. … I just wish the information was reported accurately. And even still, we’re talking about less than 1% of the population actually getting it and 1% of that 1% actually dying. I think it all should be opened up. If your health is compromised, then you need to take protection. If I was allergic to peanuts I wouldn’t go tour Planters.”
—Julie Alexander, 55, Ocean Park
“Concern for my fellow citizens and their freedom in Washington, that’s what brings me out here. And the somewhat unpopular belief that we have to stand for liberty and freedom for our sovereignty as a people not to be manipulated, lied to and threatened by those we employ.”
“…Relatives I know are involved and are deeply concerned and severely affected. … I see the economy of our state being brought to its knees by people who aren’t affected by that. The politicians are still getting all their checks. I think there’s a huge amount of fear mongering going on. A lot of people aren’t thinking critically and following whatever lie they choose to at the time.”
—Scott Nitschke, 63, Pierce County
“I think Gov. Jay Inslee is wrong. I just don’t believe it’s constitutional. I don’t believe it’s right and I’m not going to go by it. It’s not a law. He can’t make laws. I’ll invite as many people to Thanksgiving as I damn well please.”
—Pat, no last name or age given, Pacific County