Save the Whales Day draws a crowd

Protesters brave blustery winds at Main Beach to take a stand against resumption of worldwide whaling.

May 28, 2010|By Barbara Diamond
  • People gather at Save the Whales March at Main Beach.
People gather at Save the Whales March at Main Beach.

An enthusiastic crowd responded Sunday to a rallying cry to raise awareness of and declare opposition to the resumption of commercial whaling..

More than 75 people gathered at Main Beach in Laguna to sign petitions and videotape a plea to President Obama to keep his pledge to support the moratorium on the business of hunting whales. The Orange County event was coordinated with 14 other coastal counties organized by the Western Alliance for Nature.

"We have a voice — whales don't," said Greenpeace representative Nick Hurley, who led the chant: "President Obama, keep your promise. Save the whales."

The signatures were gathered to show popular opposition to the April 15 announcement by the United States that it was brokering an agreement to legalize commercial whaling. Quotas are to be left up to Iceland, Norway and Japan, which have been accused of violating the moratorium, in place since 1986.

"We've collected hundreds of signatures here," said local event organizer Penny Elia, clad in a Save the Whales T-shirt from a previous protest, among her various environmental activities.


"You know you have been doing it too long when you go into a drawer and say, which topic shall I wear today?" Elia said.

Petitions opposing commercial whaling and the video were to be forwarded to Coastal Commissioner Sara Wan, who founded the alliance with her husband, Larry, for transmission to Washington, D.C.

The city of Laguna Beach co-sponsored the demonstration against commercial whaling.

"We are here to say that this will not happen," said City Councilwoman Verna Rollinger, who served as mistress of ceremonies for the event.

Laguna Beach was the only Orange County site for a demonstration and residents from surrounding communities braved the blustery, bone-chilling winds that blew off the white-capped Pacific Ocean to participate.

Monrovia residents Kathy Ashmore and her daughter, Laura, made the Save the Whales signs waved at drivers passing Main Beach Park.

"Save Japan Dolphins let me know about it," the elder Ashmore said.

Kaitlyn Huie, 17, said her mother received an e-mail about the event.

"We both wanted to come," the San Clemente High School student said.

Marilyn Broughton and Evalie Du Mars, two of a set of triplets, came from Corona Del Mar.

"We were told that this [Laguna] was where Orange County was meeting," Broughton said.

One and all, they came to register their protest and to hear the speakers.

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