Chico protestors gather downtown to picket for peace in Venezuela

As+the+protest+continues+more+of+Chico+Peace+Vigil%27s+members+show+up.+They+grab+a+sign+and+stand+on+various+parts+of+the+sidewalk+to+show+passing+cars+their+signs%2C+Saturday%2C+Mar.+2%2C+2019%2C+in+Chico%2C+CA.+Photo+credit%3A+Melissa+Herrera

As the protest continues more of Chico Peace Vigil's members show up. They grab a sign and stand on various parts of the sidewalk to show passing cars their signs, Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019, in Chico, CA. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

Gordy Papalias

Car horns rang through the streets of downtown Chico Saturday afternoon as passers-by honked in support of protestors demonstrating for peace in Venezuela.

Many of the protestors were members of the Chico Peace and Justice Center. They have been protesting on Third and Main every Saturday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. for 55 years. Their goal is to display support for ending wars, and the last few Saturdays have had extra significance because of Venezuela’s unstable government and relationship with the U.S.

Chico Peace Vigil's commitment to the protest
Chico Peace Vigil has protested every Saturday afternoon in the last four weeks. They are an organization that has lasted since 1960 and are dedicated to show locals their views, Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019, in Chico, CA. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

The protestors believe peace isn’t a priority for the U.S. government, nor does the U.S. supply its citizens with all of the necessary information when it comes to its foreign relations policy and many events that happen overseas.

“I think a lot of it is because the media manipulates a lot of what we hear,” Linda Furr said, the leader of the group of protestors. “There’s so much on the hearings of Michael Cohen and they haven’t mentioned Venezuela in the last few days.”

Chico Peace Vigil gathered on the corner of 3rd and Main street
Chico Peace Vigil gathered on 3rd and Main street, protesting against the situation in Venezuela, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Chico, CA. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

While a majority of the protestors have been involved with the Chico Peace and Justice Center for many years, there have been many recent additions to their group.

Vietnam veteran Bob Van Fleet started coming out to protest toward the end of last August and has come out on many of the Saturdays since then.

“I think it’s really important to be out here at a time when it’s hard to get truthful, honest information about what’s going on in the world, and we are so divided against each other,” Van Fleet said. “It’s a small thing that we can do to make people think and ask questions basically.”

Chico Peace Vigil held numerous signs as locals walked by.
Chico Peace Vigil has members who are part of other organizations. They travel to areas that need more help in getting the peace out to the public and educate locals about the situation, Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019, in Chico, CA. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

The Chico Peace and Justice Center have faced a lot of opposition in the form of protesters against their protest group who disagree with their stance on the anti-war issues, but they remain strong in their ability to show up every weekend.

“The worst was after the invasion of Iraq,” Furr said on her toughest protesting experiences. “Every time it was the anniversary of that. There were massive amounts of people that came out here threatening us…it was really scary.”

Although the Chico Peace and Justice Center have faced many roadblocks, positivity seemed to be constant throughout the group. One thing they stressed was that they will be at their same spot on Third and Main every Saturday to stand up for what they believe in.

More information on the Chico Peace and Justice Center and its members can be found on their website or at their office on 526 Broadway St.

Gordon Papalias can be reached at [email protected] or Twitter @GordonPapalias.