Newsom cancels in-person Christmas tree lighting ceremony over fear of Pro-Hamas protests

It’s a change of plans for Newsom and the state, which was initially looking at a major event at the Capitol Tuesday evening.

California will not hold its annual public Christmas tree lighting ceremony live and in person on Tuesday because of protests over the Israel-Hamas conflict. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office will release a recording and a stream on social media on Wednesday. 


The big picture: Protests have disrupted public events across the nation, including just a few weeks ago at the California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento. 

  • Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, will light the tree with Harley Goodpasture, a five-year-old Native American child. 
  • According to KCRA, Newsom originally planned to host the tree lighting ceremony Tuesday evening with a night market and small businesses set up along the Capitol, as well as several musical performances. 
  • But on Tuesday the Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights announced that it would march to the Capitol on Tuesday night to call for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, adding that it wanted to out Newsom for “hiding from the public” over his stance on the war. 

What they’re saying: “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,” a Newsom spokesperson said. “The program is unchanged and viewers can tune in Wednesday evening to watch this year’s festivities.”

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