Newsom Delays Christmas Tree Lighting, Holds Virtual Event Amid Planned Protests

Newsom Delays Christmas Tree Lighting, Holds Virtual Event Amid Planned Protests

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks with Fox News host Sean Hannity in Simi Valley, Calif., on September 27, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

12/7/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

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Plans to host a public gathering Dec. 5 to light the California State Capitol tree were abruptly changed due to safety concerns, with the ceremony moved to a virtual event Dec. 6, according to the governor’s office.
“As we continue to see protests across the country impacting the safety of events of all scales—and for the safety and security of all participating members and guests including children and families—the ceremony this year will be virtual,” the governor’s office said in a Dec. 5 statement.
While no specific protests were mentioned by the governor’s office, a scheduled event was planned by Pro-Palestinian activists, according to social media posts made by the Palestinian Rights Coalition—a Bay Area-based human rights group.
The same group organized protests that saw crowds swell to more than 2,000 and overwhelm security guards at the California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento in November.
Some critics of the governor’s decision to block the public from attending the event said Californians are missing out on real opportunities because of a lack of law and order.
“First Newsom was silent when terrorist sympathizers stormed his own party convention, and now he’s allowed pro-Hamas radicals to intimidate him into canceling an event that was supposed to spread a message of unity, joy, and peace,” Assemblyman James Gallagher wrote Dec. 6 on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Other scenes across the nation saw similar protests disrupt events in the last few weeks, including the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center in New York City.
California’s tree lighting tradition dates back 92 years, and the event this year featured a program highlighting the state’s diversity and “spirit of inclusion.”
The evening included performances by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and members of the Wilton Rancheria—a tribe located near Elk Grove in Northern California.
Special guest 5-year-old Harley Goodpasture, the first Native American child to participate in the ceremony, joined the governor and his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom to light the 60-foot-tall red fir tree.
Governor Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel Newsom (C) join family and guests at the annual tree lighting ceremony in Sacramento, Calif., in an event that aired Dec. 6, 2023. (Courtesy of the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom)

Governor Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel Newsom (C) join family and guests at the annual tree lighting ceremony in Sacramento, Calif., in an event that aired Dec. 6, 2023. (Courtesy of the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom)

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Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

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Travis Gillmore is an avid reader and journalism connoisseur based in California covering finance, politics, the State Capitol, and breaking news for The Epoch Times.

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