Thousand Oaks anti-war protesters have condemned the City Council's decision to finance a Fourth of July celebration to mark the return of U.S. troops from the Persian Gulf War.
The event indicates support for a conflict that some Thousand Oaks residents opposed, said Donna Schoenkopf, an anti-war activist and teacher.
"The city of Thousand Oaks is celebrating a way to resolve conflict by using violence and death," Schoenkopf told the City Council Tuesday night.
Schoenkopf criticized the City Council for deciding last month to use municipal funds to stage what she called a "war parade."
Protester Paul Herzog said, "This is intended to celebrate the war." Herzog said a group of protesters may attend the event to register their opposition.
City officials have planned a Desert Storm Salute, which will feature a parade, fireworks and entertainment. Organizers hope to get half of the $50,000 needed to finance the celebration from public donations. The council last month unanimously agreed to send out requests for $2 donations in the city's utility bills.
The parade is intended to thank the 153 men and women from Thousand Oaks who went to war, said Councilman Alex Fiore, who served on a committee that planned the event.
"It has nothing to do with supporting the war," he said. "It has to do with thanking those people."