In photos: Carolina Beach protesters march to reopen businesses, beach strand

Robert Johnson holds his fist in the air after more than a dozen protesters end their march to reopen businesses and beaches due to the coronavirus closures at Carolina Beach Town Hall. (Johanna F. Still)

CAROLINA BEACH — A group of protestors along with Carolina Beach Police, and media personnel turned out — in spite of orders forbidding mass gatherings — midday Friday for a march.

The cause? To reopen Carolina Beach’s businesses and beach accesses (view the full photo gallery below).

Related: Carolina Beach relies heavily on tourism. How will COVID-19 shutdowns affect its budget?

The grassroots movement began, as so many things do, on social media earlier this week. The group was started by 24-year Carolina Beach resident Bobby McConville with a simple message to get across: show Town Council the public’s dissatisfaction with closures through an act of civil disobedience.

“Our community is choking. It’s dying,” McConville said after Friday’s march on Town Hall. “It needs to be resuscitated.”

While smaller in stature than bigger city movements bubbling up across the nation, the protest did draw attention at the Carolina Beach Lake Park on Friday. Horns sounded in support as protesters made their way down Lake Park Boulevard toward Town Hall.

While the demonstration was peaceful, one Wilmington protestor, Robert Johnson, took a more direct and forceful approach, calling for residents to tear down barriers blocking beach accesses.

Late Friday afternoon following the protest, Carolina Beach Mayor LeAnn Pierce released a statement, confirming the beach strand closure remains in full effect. However, a soft reopening may be in the works.

“On a daily basis, we consider options for returning the community back to normal, and our first priority is the protection and safety of the Carolina Beach residents. Looking forward, we hope to implement some type of soft or tiered opening as soon as possible,” Pierce wrote in the statement.

View the photo gallery below:

Protesters march on Lake Park Boulevard

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