Newsom Cancels Public Christmas Tree–Lighting amid Planned Pro-Palestinian Protests

California governor Gavin Newsom will conduct tonight’s Christmas tree–lighting at California’s state capitol virtually, amid threats from pro-Palestinian protesters.

The Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights announced that it would protest at the state capitol on Tuesday night — the same night Newsom was set to direct the annual Christmas tree–lighting ceremony. The group told KCRA Channel 3 that it wants to “out governor Gavin Newsom for hiding from the public because he doesn’t want to face their anger at his shameful stance in regard to the genocide in Gaza.”

“Governor Newsom decided to cancel the tree-lighting ceremony rather than face the public that is enraged by his shameful silence on the genocide in Gaza. This certainly doesn’t add up with his past stance with Native Americans,” Yassar Dahbour of the Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights said.

According to the local outlet, California Highway Patrol’s permit calendar originally slated a tree-lighting ceremony for Tuesday evening but had removed the event from the calendar as of Tuesday morning. The ceremony will now be held remotely, and California Highway Patrol has barricaded the area where the tree is located. Signage around the capitol building warns that trespassers will be arrested and prosecuted.

The tree-lighting event was reportedly planned to accompany a holiday market featuring local businesses. “As we continue to see protests across the country impacting the safety of events of all scales, we have decided not to continue with the holiday market as planned on Tuesday, December 5. We will provide updates on our holiday plans and family-friendly festivities at a future date,” Sacramento’s Midtown Business Association announced on November 29.

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