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Protesters Outside S.F. City Hall Demand End to Coronavirus Lockdown

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- New polls suggest 70 percent of Californians are comfortable with the state's shelter-in-place order. The other 30 percent are now more worried about the economic impacts of that lockdown. On Friday, those voices were heard in cities across California, including San Francisco.

On the west side of City Hall, about 75 to 100 protesters called for a loosening of the lockdown. It drew some people you might expect and some you might not.

"I don't know if it will make any difference but we are free citizens," said a teacher named Tara. "At least I thought I was."

"I'm a registered nurse and I work at a Bay Area hospital," said Emily. "I think, without any disrespect to the patients that have died ... it's time to open back up and we can do that safely." A common thread among protesters was that the severity of the lockdown is causing increasing harm.

"Domestic violence is up, people are losing their businesses," Tara explained.

"I sympathize with the people that are unemployed and who have small businesses," said a passerby named Catherine Maxey. "The problem is we don't know how to control the spread."

Maxey reflects the polling we've seen in California. "Right now, I think we need to stay hunkered down," she said. "Social distancing and washing our hands forever."

The governor did acknowledge the protests.

"As it relates to the protesters, all I ask for is this ... take care of yourself," Gavin Newsom said at his noon press conference. "Wear a face covering."

"I've been calling him governor nuisance," said one "Open California" protester said of Newsom.

But just as "Open California" was taking on the governor, so was a more traditional May Day protest across the Van Ness Avenue. The proximity of the two did produce some squabbles. Those who showed up here said they were expecting a bit of that.

"This is San Francisco," said one man in a snowflake-mocking red hat. "I'm not terribly surprised."

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