MIDDLETOWN — A crowd of about 100 people gathered on the street in front of Gov. Phil Murphy's home to protest his mandate requiring students grades K-12 in public and private schools to wear masks when the new school year starts.

It was the second protest in two days by parents and those who object to Murphy's mandate. Protesters had also gathered outside the Memorial School in East Brunswick as he made the announcement on Friday.

Video of Saturday's protesters shows state troopers and Middletown police putting up barriers on Navesink River Road at Blossom Cove Road, the dead-end block where Murphy and his wife live.

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The demonstrators held signs that read "unmask our kids," "this teacher does not support the NJEA or Murphy" and "free the smiles."

Others were more critical and called the governor a "communist," according to NJ.com's coverage.

Nearly a dozen officers were on the ground as a helicopter flew overhead.

Middletown police told New Jersey 101.5 there were no arrests on Saturday.

Murphy asked for politics to be kept out of the mandate but insisted that masks are a must while the number of COVID-19 cases remains high.

"Anyone telling you that we can safely reopen our schools without requiring everyone inside to wear a mask is quite simply lying to you because we can't," Murphy said.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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