Following the protest of a man identified as a retired sailor, a beach town in North Carolina is set to reopen.
It started with a viral social media post by local Mike Connor that showed the sailor standing in the ocean, in his dress blues, in front of a sign that read “LAND OF THE FREE.”
Conner said in his post, “I’m so proud of our community here in Emerald Isle taking a stand against the town’s decision to deny our legal right to access and use the Atlantic Ocean. Shortly after the organized peaceful protest this morning regarding this matter, I witnessed this decorated retired US Navy Chief in full dress uniform standing in the Atlantic Ocean with this sign erected. Thank you for your service and support sir.”
According to Business Insider, the sailor was standing in the water for about 10 minutes before he was approached by law enforcement. However he refused to move upon their request.
After some time, he reportedly left on his own accord, without being arrested.
Shortly after the incident went viral on social media, the town reversed their policy and announced they would be opening the beaches.
According to Business Insider, Connor said that “we’re very happy that Emerald Isle allowed access not just to us swimmers, but to everybody that uses it as a medium for their exercise. We don’t want our rights stomped all over.”
The beach town announced in a statement on Facebook that, “Emerald Isle residents and property owners will be able to access the Atlantic Ocean for normal activities, including swimming, surfing, kiting, kayaking, and fishing. Residents can continue to walk, jog, and sit on the beach strand. All beachgoers must adhere to the current social distancing guidelines.”
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