About 50 residents of Tulare County, in the Imperial Valley in California, stood in the sun waving signs that read "God is Love" and "Honk If You Oppose The War" for two hours Sunday as traffic bustled down Mooney Boulevard.
The effort — a grass-roots protest by Tulare residents of all ages — was in response to recent talks of the United States taking military action against Iraq.
"These protests are going on all over the world; we're not the only ones," Klara East of Exeter said, standing beside her son holding a sign that read "No Blood For Oil."
"There are a lot of people out there that agree with our position. We want them to know they aren't the only ones."
Thousands of anti-war protesters took to the streets throughout the state Sunday, beating drums, hoisting signs and proclaiming their opposition to the war with Iraq.
Protesters jammed Union Square in San Francisco and a lively demonstration also took place at the Federal Building in west Los Angeles.
Dozens of anti-war rallies across the country were organized by the Not in Our Name Project, a grass-roots group opposing a range of Bush administration actions. Demonstrations also took place in New York, Chicago, Portland, Ore., and many smaller communities.
In Los Angeles, an estimated 3,000 demonstrators marched outside the Federal Building in Westwood.
"People consider this a critical time," said Steve Rohde, a lawyer who represents the nonprofit coalition group. The protest was set to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan, Rohde said.
"It's just people who are opposed to war," East said in Visalia. "They're hearing about protesting from friends and by various e-mail lists."
It was the third straight weekend that protesters, many with religious affiliations including the Religious Society of Friends, Methodist, Catholic, and Unitarian churches, lined the intersection of Walnut Avenue and Mooney Boulevard with signs and at least one bullhorn to plead for peace.
Since August, a fraction of the group had met at the intersection with signs on Fridays, but last month the group decided a switch to Sunday could generate a greater force of protesters.
With the number of protesters more than doubling since last month, it seems switching days has worked. And according to an informal survey of support that 54-year-old protester Brian Newton conducted Sunday, the group believes support also seems to be doubling.
"Some people flip us off or yell at us to go home, but we just ignore them because it's such a small number," said Newton, who counted 274 honks of support Sunday along with 19 forms of opposition. "It's wonderful that we can do this, protest for what we believe in and at the same time somebody else here in America can express their own opinion."
Some drivers honked or waved in support. Others shouted obscenities.
Thomas Ornelas, 44, of Visalia stumbled upon the group after a trip to the Visalia Mall and found himself agreeing with protesters that the United States should not use military force against another country.
"President Bush should not be so eager to push the panic button for war," he said. "Just thinking about it makes my mind go in shambles."
On his protest sign, David Chandler, 54, of Springville urged people to "Speak Out! Stop the War."
"War is a horror and that's something we don't just lightly go into," he said. "We've killed more people in Afghanistan, innocent people, than were killed on Sept. 11, but nothing is ever said about that. We could easily kill tens of thousands more people in Baghdad, a city of several million."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.www.visaliatimesdelta.com/news/stories/20021007/localnews/238115.htmlE-mail this article