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Rally Blames U.S. for Central American Strife

November 08, 1987|JILL STEWART | Times Staff Writer

A diverse throng of more than 1,000 Central American immigrants, suburbanites, students and church and labor groups chanted "No Contra Aid" and carried tall white crosses into MacArthur Park on Saturday to protest the Reagan Administration's policies in Central America.

Holding banners reading "Reagan, the Real Terrorist," and "Nicaragua Is Spanish for Vietnam," the protesters marched from Pico Boulevard more than a mile to the park to show support for the Central American peace plan proposed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez.

As the crowd paraded along Alvarado Street, through a largely residential area that is home to the biggest population of Salvadorans outside of Central America, hundreds of bystanders cheered.

Koreans Join March

One protester, representing a large contingent from Young Koreans United, said he joined the march because, "America is supposed to be the good guy, and we're all ashamed to learn that we are the bad guys."

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday November 13, 1987 Home Edition Part 1 Page 2 Column 6 Metro Desk 1 inches; 32 words Type of Material: Correction
An article in Sunday's editions on a Los Angeles march against the Reagan Administration's policies in Central America incorrectly identified the organizers. The protest was sponsored by the Mobilization on Central America.

Organized by the Southern California Interfaith Task Force on Central America, the rally attracted a diverse crowd, from senior citizens and university students to groups representing All Saints Church of Pasadena and Architects and Planners in Support of Nicaragua.

Raul Molina, an official of the University of San Carlos in Guatemala, urged the crowd to oppose American military involvement in Central America by removing pro-Contra politicians from office in the 1988 elections.

Speaking first in English, then in Spanish, Molina called on Congress to end its financial backing of the Contra rebels, who are fighting troops loyal to Nicaragua's leftist government.

Awarded Nobel Prize

The peace plan, which seeks a cease-fire as its first step, earned Costa Rica's Arias a Nobel Peace Prize last month. It is aimed at ending the civil conflicts not only in Nicaragua but also in El Salvador and Guatemala.

Luis Flores, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Democratic Front, which opposes El Salvador President Jose Napoleon Duarte, told the crowd that his organization "favors a political solution" to the strife but will not agree to a cease-fire without significant concessions from Duarte, such as the release of political prisoners.

A small group of Reagan supporters loudly heckled the speakers and were closely monitored by a team of police clad in riot gear, but no violence was reported.

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