by Tim Tevault
“The Yanks are not coming!” shouted Mike Noonan as he stood amidst signs that read “We can’t bomb our way to peace” and “Cooperation is peace, war is hell.” Guitars, accordions and percussion instruments could also be heard amid the honking horns and shouts for peace.
These are the sounds from the anti-war protest held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays at the corner of Arrow Highway and Indian Hill Boulevard, south of downtown Claremont.
Although it is not organized by one particular person, group or coalition, the protest is attended by members of the Peace with Justice Center in Pomona, the American Civil Liberties Union and the University of La Verne’s Model United Nations, among others.
This is not the first time a protest has occurred on this corner. Residents and local peace activists have gathered on Arrow and Indian Hill since before the Gulf War in 1991.
“It’s become a very symbolic place for people of peace to protest,” said Rose Ash, Claremont resident. Ash said that people have also gathered on the corner for crises like the war in Nicaragua, the Persian missile crisis and most recently, the bombing in Afghanistan last year.
Betty McClellan of Claremont, who has been attending these protests for over 10 years, said that this particular protesting of war in Iraq started about mid-August.
McClellan also said that more new people are showing their faces at the Iraq protests, and that the participation has stayed consistent since they started.
Pat Sullivan of Claremont and Glenn Goodwin, adjunct sociology professor at the University of La Verne, have also been attending these protests for years.
“Every week, there is a more diverse group of people,” Sullivan said.
“What’s wonderful is the support we’re getting,” Goodwin said.
“I’ve been here many times and we’ve gotten the finger (among other things).”
Many of the signs the protesters hold up read “Honk for peace,” eliciting a lot of response from the people commuting in their cars.
“One week, one of the people started counting, (and counted) 1,000 honks (from commuters),” McClellan said.
Pedestrians can also show support by picking up one of the many signs lying around.
Betty Smith of Claremont showed her support Friday when she saw the protest.
“I just picked up a sign,” she said. “I have a feeling against the war and I agree with them, so I stopped by.”
ULV biology major Faysel Bell was also there on Friday for the first time.
“I’ve always said something about (the war),” he said. “It’s about time I voiced my opinion.”
Bell also said that he hopes more people who feel strongly for peace and who are afraid to voice their opinion will see the protesters and be inspired to speak up about how they feel.
In addition to joining the protest, Bell helped organize the Peace Rally on Wednesday at ULV.
Co-chairwoman of MUN Jennifer Contreras has also attended three of the anti-war in Iraq protests.
“(I protest) to encourage people to think of more peaceful means of approaching the situation (in Iraq),” she said.
The protests will continue until attacks in Iraq are stopped.
They are held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Friday on the corners of Arrow Highway and Indian Hill Boulevard in Claremont.
The protests are free and open to anyone.