By Dorany Pineda
Hundreds of protesters rallied on Avenida Cesar Chavez on Thursday in opposition to Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton’s visit to East Los Angeles College.
As attendees of Clinton’s speech left the men’s gym, protesters surrounded them on both sides.
Several supporters of Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders shouted “ELAC is for Bernie.”
The crowd of protesters was mixed, with youth making up the majority of the demographic.
Union del Barrio of Los Angeles, MEXA of ELAC, the Los Angeles Brown Berets, Black Lives Matter and several other organizations mobilized at Belvedere Park around 3 p.m. and marched to ELAC where they met with other Clinton protesters.
Signs that read, “Liar Liar pants on fire! Sincerely, ELAC,” “Put her in jail: war criminal,” “Stop representing corporate interests and start representing the interests of of the people,” and “I lost my house. Hillary voted to bail out Wall Street and they paid her millions. Where’s my bail-out?” among many others, littered the horizon.
ELAC students and protesters filled the streets chanting, “The students united will never be divided!,” “Hillary, fuera de East LA!,” “We’re not rich!,” and “We’re not illegal, we’re indigenous!”
Former student, president of the student body and MEChA coach at ELAC, Sofia Quinonez, spoke passionately to protesters about her opposition of Clinton and her policies.
“Hillary is not for the environment. She supports the privatization of water. Without water, there is no life.
“She killed Berta Caceres. She killed children in Libya. She has blood on her hands. Get out of East LA!” Quinonez shouted.
Caceres was an Honduran indigenous leader and environmental activist who was murdered in her home earlier this year.
In 2009, then the Secretary of State, Clinton was involved in the ousting of former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.
At the time, Clinton openly criticized the ousting of Zelaya as a coup, but in the last several months has suggested that the raid into Zelaya’s home was conducted in accordance to orders from the country’s Supreme Court.
Clinton’s hedging stance has since earned her much criticism from some Latinos.
Many activists and world officials condemned the ousting as a military coup, a label that the Obama Administration did not officially use because, under law, the U.S. would then have had to cut off aid to Honduras.
Protester Carol Paniagua held a sign that read “#WhichHillary,” and “We have to bring them to heel,” a reference to a speech that Clinton gave in 1994, in which she referred to African-American youth as “super predators.”
One of Paniagua’s biggest problem with Clinton is her policies on war.
“We’ve had enough. We need peace. Trillions of dollars are spent on war and none on tuition,” Paniagua said.
Clinton has received a lot of scrutiny in her run for presidency for persuading President Barack Obama to bomb Libya in 2011 during her position as Secretary of State.
She also voted in support of the Iraq War in 2002, which is now deemed by many as one of the worst foreign policy errors in American history. Clinton has since apologized for her pro-Iraq vote.
James Duffy, protestor and petitioner, was at ELAC on Thursday protesting Clinton’s appearance in LA.
“(Clinton) is a fraud and the shill of corporate America. She would make a bad president and her position would mean another eight years of money-run corporate-tocracy. She’s subverted people’s hopes, and is aping Bernie Sanders. She’s mired in corruption and fraud,” Duffy said.
According to the Washington Post, Clinton has received $44.1 million total in donations from Wall Street, insurance companies, banks, hedge funds and other financial services funds, despite growing criticism on their practices.
Although a large population of the protesters that afternoon were supporters of Bernie Sanders, several others emphasized that they were not endorsing any particular candidate, but were there as “anti-Hillary” protesters.