Claremont Insider: Claremont: Polite Pilgrim Protest--Or Not

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Claremont: Polite Pilgrim Protest--Or Not

At about 10 a.m. (see below for update) we got a report on the Pilgrim-Indian Protest. (The link in Drudge has floated up to the top of the first column since our post this morning: prime position)

About half of the 5-year-olds left Mountain View in paper vests and Indian headbands. The Press was there; two TV location trucks representing KTLA, CBS, and KABC. A clutch of parents saw the kids off; occasional horns were honked in apparent support. One lone cop on a motorcycle (not Claremont PD) did a drive-by, then left.

At Condit, as the line of Indian-Kids approached, shepherded by a bunch of parents and teachers, a polite, no-voices-raised discussion was being filmed by at least five news cameras. There was one major spokesman for the tribal contingent; he'll probably be all over the news. There were a couple of guys standing around who looked pretty out of place: they were either Secret Service agents or Claremont Unified School District staff. As the marchers turned into the school, the cameras rolled and about a dozen protesters unfurled make-shift signs saying, "You are not honoring anyone", "Respect", "Don't Celebrate Genocide", "Racist", and "No Thanks, No Giving".

After the marchers passed, the protesters broke out a drum and did an Indian song, whether of war, or lamentation, or victory, our correspondent couldn't say.

This broke up after no more than five minutes, and the small group of protesters moved up the sidewalk to huddle. The head guy handed out what appeared to be words to the next song, while the "Respect" sign-carrier walked away from the group with her ear to her cell-phone, in the way of someone on an important call. A communal song followed, but it didn't appear the cameras were rolling.

Meanwhile, the 5-year-olds of Condit and Mountain View Elementary Schools played games together on the grass.

Update, 12:45 p.m.

The L.A. Times Blog, L.A. Now, has the following update by the Times reporter, Seema Mehta: it appears things got heated after awhile and the Claremont PD were called and had to separate the protestors. We're sure this will be covered on the John and Ken radio program, 640 on your A.M. dial, starting at 3 p.m. this afternoon.

Police are also "paying extra attention" to the home of Superintendent David Cash, only blocks from one of the schools, after he reported receiving what he characterized as "hate emails" and feared for his safety. Our advice: Cool it, people.

(click on link just preceding, or on image below to enlarge)