A group of nearly three-dozen South Florida residents are not happy about the holiday beach closures, and took time Saturday to voice their opinions.
The crowd defied the county’s decision to shutter the beaches for the 4th of July, and planted an American flag on Fort Lauderdale beach while waving protest signs.
Fort Lauderdale police officers made no arrests and did not say anything, as some of the protesters drank from open champagne or beer bottles.
Other protestors went for a swim, while another group waved signs in support of President Trump, or wore his campaign hats.
Organizer Chris Nelson of Fort Lauderdale, a security guard, said that closing the beach because of the COVID-19 pandemic was wrong.
He and others also said they oppose mask mandates and business closures.
“It is wrong. It’s unconstitutional,” he said. “We are here to walk on this beach.”
Signs at the protest read “Freedom over fear,” “Open the beach, no masks,” and “.01% not a pandemic.”
“Say no to tyranny!” yelled Maria Pinzon, who is a nurse.
She held a sign that depicted a masked face and the words “I can’t breathe,” which is a twist on the final words of George Floyd, whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police led to the Black Lives Matter protests.
“I’m a nurse,” she said. “The only time I think a mask is needed is with my patients. It’s ridiculous and it’s a sign of being subservient to the powers that be.”
Meanwhile, a Boynton Beach construction manager named Alan, who declined to give his last name, said he there because he was offended that Black Lives Matter protesters could create autonomous zones where they did not acknowledge the powers of police.
“I declare this an autonomous zone!” he declared. “I’m the white, privileged guy who worked 60 hours a week. My father worked more. Is that what white privilege is?”
Broward has ordered beaches closed July 3-5. You can still walk the boardwalk, but no sunbathing will be allowed. #DeerfieldBeach Pier will be open for fishing only & the pier lot will only be open to anglers. To read order checkout https://t.co/Gw2z8u79V0 #StayStrongDFB pic.twitter.com/IwXU406wIL
— City of Deerfield Beach (@DFB_City) June 30, 2020
He added that the shutdown over COVID-19 had gone too far, and is prompting suicides, and joblessness. He was denied for unemployment and food stamps, he said.
Another person held a sign that read, “Cover up AmeriKKKa. Your racism is showing.” The woman, who is a Plantation resident, said that she is from the Caribbean.
Two men yelled at her, calling her a “terrorist.”
Andrew Brett, who is a Trump supporter and head of the Broward Log Cabin Republicans, saw a black wrap around her face and head, and said she was Muslim.
However, the woman said she was not.
“She’s a jihadist terrorist!” he yelled. “She’s not an American. She’s a Muslim!”
A nearby man on a bike held a poster declaring that all “Democrats are terrorists.”
In addition to no arrests, no injuries were reported.