LAGUNA BEACH – Even though the America First! rally planned for Sunday, Sept. 24, was canceled, the heavy law enforcement presence at Main Beach Park left some people in town wondering if the rally that drew more than 2,300 people last month was back on.
By 1 p.m., dozens of police officers from departments such as Irvine, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Newport Beach, Orange and Westminster were staged in a parking lot adjacent to Main Beach. An armored vehicle parked at the ready. Police squads walked the beach and boardwalk until about 6 p.m.
Additional units from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department were staged in other parts of town. Those included mounted units and dog teams. Heavy-duty barricades were set up along the sidewalk of Main Beach to prevent a vehicle from getting onto the sidewalk.
By 3:30 p.m., a handful of counterprotesters showed up on the boardwalk carrying handheld banners saying “Resist” and “Impeach.” They engaged some people but did not cause any issues, said Sgt. Jim Cota.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” he said.
The law enforcement presence, while less than the Aug. 20 even when 300 police officers showed up and four people were arrested, was a message from Laguna Beach…