Union leaders in California continued a protest even after neighbors and police informed them they were at the wrong house because their target, Rep. Steve Knight (R., Calif.), had moved away months ago.
The group of over 50 protestors, who arrived in Service Employees International Union (SEIU) vans, carried a fake coffin to the house to send a message that Knight's votes in Congress were "killing" them, according to a report in the local Antelope Valley Press.
Police arrived at the scene to alert the union protestors that they were in the wrong place, but the activists—who had already been informed of this fact by neighbors—decided to continue the protest anyway. The police removed the protestors from the home's driveway and front lawn, where they were holding a candlelight vigil.
— SEIU Local 99 (@SEIULocal99) February 24, 2017
An aide to California State Assembly Leader Anthony Rendon defended the protestors, saying that it was not an "embarrassment."
"I don't see that this was an embarrassment," said Rendon aide Darren Parker. "What I saw was people are looking for solutions to uncertainty and sometimes they don't get the I's dotted and the T's crossed."
Parker added that he was pleased by the turnout at the failed protest.
— Javier Panzar (@jpanzar) February 24, 2017
Throughout February, protestors organized by the state Democratic Party have targeted the Southern California Republican at his local office. The protestors said that their efforts were based on an online guidebook called "Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda."
Knight told local press that the decision to continue the protest outside of an ordinary citizens' home was "beyond anything I've ever seen."
"Why are people harassing folks who are not in Congress?" Knight asked.
The protest was part of a state-wide effort by the SEIU and other activists to target California Republicans on Obamacare and immigration issues.
A similar "protest vigil" was held at the house of Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.). Issa was not home at the time of the protest, prompting his staff to label the demonstration "political theater."
"We should absolutely call out this silliness for exactly what it is: manufactured stunts to create political theater," said a spokesman for Issa's office.
"Everyone has the right to peaceably assemble and make their voices heard, but dragging the congressman’s wife and family into this goes beyond the pale," the spokesman said.
Issa's staff gave the protestors cookies.