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Photos and video: Hundreds attend Stand for Freedom rally in Paso Robles City Park 


A panoramic view of the Stand for Freedom rally on Friday in Paso Robles, Calif

–Hundreds of local residents attended a Stand for Freedom rally on Friday at noon in the Paso Robles Downtown City Park at Spring and 12th Streets.

“This is a non-partisan event, we are gathering together in peace to support our Constitutional Rights, and the reopening of our county and state,” said organizer Amanda Hawkins.

Attendees waived dozens of United States flags and cheered loudly for the speakers on the steps of the Carnegie Library. Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis estimated a crowd of around 700 in the park at 12:30 p.m.

Many at the rally held signs critical of Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom: “Newsom releases criminals, oppresses citizens,” “Gruesome Newsom enemy to freedom,” and “Not my dictator,” with a picture of Newsom. Other signs said, “All jobs are essential,” “My Constitutional rights are essential,” “Every life matters equally,” “Our liberties denied,” “RNs laid off, why are we still in lockdown?” A few held flags that read, “Don’t tread on me.”


US Congressional Candidate Andy Caldwell spoke to those assembled and encouraged the State of California to begin to loosen restrictions imposed over a month ago to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Republican Congressional Candidate Andy Caldwell spoke to the crowd about the history of the virus, tracing its uncertain origins from China, and expressed his concerns for “unfortunate steps” implemented to prevent its spread. He said when scientists acknowledged that early modeling was incorrectly overstated, the nation’s policies should have changed.
Another speaker, local doctor Warren Frankel, discussed his thoughts about a more intelligent way to fight the virus and criticized errors made in the battle against it. Both men called unfortunate the surrender of civil rights in the effort to prevent the coronavirus from impacting the population.


State's current response to COVID-19

Many people brought homemade signs criticizing the state’s current response to COVID-19


Hundreds of protesters gathered about the historic Carnegie Library in the Downtown City Park.


While most did not wear masks, the crowd gathered loosely and many kept their distance from each other.



Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis, center, with Paso Robles City Councilman John Hamon, right, observed the peaceful gathering from the back of the crowd.






Organizer Hawkins said she planned this protest “because there is no science justifying the shut down of our county. We have had one death out of our county’s approximate 285,000 residents. As more testing is being done, we are seeing huge amounts of people testing positive with zero symptoms. We are also seeing masses of people who already have antibodies for COVID-19.”

“Meanwhile, our residents are losing their businesses, their jobs, their livelihood; their ability to feed their families and themselves, and pay their rent or mortgage. People have lost access to dental care; surgeries and medical procedures have been canceled. The burdens of economic stress and isolation are detrimental to people’s mental health. People are struggling with depression and we will likely see an increase in suicide. We need to be deeply concerned about long term mental health and economic repercussions of keeping our county closed.”

“We would like to see our county reopen. We would like to see our residents thrive mentally and monetarily. Our hospitals are not overburdened. The models used in the decision making of closing everything down have proved to be inaccurate. We need our freedom restored to save our people and save our economy.”



The Paso Robles Downtown Main Street Association was nearby at Park Cinemas selling posters as a fundraiser. From left, Jan Hop, Karyl Lammers, and Main Street Executive Director Norma Moye.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.