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Prayer And Protest: Dozens Converge Around Capitol Speaking Up Against Stay-At-Home Orders

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Prayer and protest drew crowds to areas surrounding the California Capitol building as part of the National Day of Prayer Thursday.

Dozens spent hours chanting and praying for the future of America and hoping to drive a message home to Governor Gavin Newsom.

Sacramento pastor Tim Thompson was at the protest on May 1 and said he was arrested for convening on the Capitol. He spent Thursday making a call to action.

"We are going to gather together and hold church service whether he (Governor Newsom) likes it or not," Thompson said.

Members of the prayer community offered a symbol of peace in the form of an olive branch to California Highway Patrol, but none of the officers stepped up to the barricade to receive it. The large gathering was not issued a permit by the agency's California Capitol division. The department is barred against handing out permits to big events like this one, due to the pandemic.

Though law enforcement was still on scene, spread out in numbers, donning masks and shields. Officers looked on at people like Lynzie Miramontez, who drove three hours from Visalia to make her voice heard.

"I feel like our governor declared war on public space," she said, speaking about the impacts on the state. "It's not just the capital or big cities. It's small towns like mine."

Several others in attendance held up signs calling for the reopening of California, in hopes of helping breathe life into small businesses again.

"We're not the only ones. We know we're not in it alone," Spencer Marshall said.

Marshall and his wife, Rachelle, own 'High Five Sports.' Their athletic training facility has been closed since March 9 only to reopen last week.  The Marshalls wore handmade signs around the event to let people know about their struggling small business. This is normally their busiest season of the year.

"How long are we supposed to stay shut and then where do we end?" Rachelle asked.

Those are questions Governor Newsom tries to answer in his daily press conferences as he discusses how the state plans to move towards normal.

"We're moving forward but we're doing always with an eye, being led by the data, by the science, by public health and the public health indices," Newsom said in his Thursday presser.

To those at the protest, though, that answer isn't enough. Many, like Pastor Thompson, called the state's current pandemic protocols a government overreach and why many people like him won't be silent.

"This isn't the America I grew up in and certainly not the America I want to raise my grandchildren in," Thompson said.

Unlike the May 1 protest, California Highway Patrol said Thursday's gathering ended in no arrests.

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