While hordes of tourists and walked to and from the Pier and around Downtown Santa Monica this Saturday, the intersection of Ocean Ave. and Colorado Blvd. was transformed into a flurry of outspoken political opinions and anti-government protests, among other random figures.
On the north side of the street that leads down into the pier, a woman stood atop a large barricade and shouted over the tops of people expressing her support for Donald Trump. She held her white signs with red writing that said, “Trump Now!” and other propaganda.
“Donald J. Trump!” she shouted to passerby. “Donald Trump for president! Hillary Clinton cannot be president!”
People passing by huffed angrily at her openness about supporting Trump. Some yelled at her, and others made civilized attempts to mention Trump’s recent scandals, but she ignored them. In spite of all of the backlash, she stood up high on her perch and yelled proudly about her allegiance to the Republican party and to the GOP candidate. She created a quite a ripple of discomfort from where she was standing, possibly in part to the fact that the majority of the people surrounding her did not agree with her political views, given Santa Monica’s liberal history.
One woman stood solo at the corner and held a sign promoting the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein. She spoke calmly with people about her political views.
A man dressed in a life-size, full Elmo costume stood at the entrance to the pier, providing tourists a photo op or entertainment. He was not connected to the political activity taking place.
Another figure at this populated intersection was a man dressed in a scary clown costume, named Jay DeGood. He was simply standing on one of the benches and waving to people as they walked by. Some tourists posed with him for a picture. Despite his appearance and the implications of his costume, this clown was benign. Recent clown activity has sparked fear in the United States, so his frightening appearance was relevant on a much more national scale.
“With everything going on in the East Coast, which I don’t agree with, I don’t support that,” DeGood said. “I don’t chase kids. I don’t run around scaring anybody, I just present myself for those to see. People just take their pictures, they say hello. Once they meet me and realize I’m not here to chase their kids, the love spreads.”
However, DeGood did mention that he has had the identity of the “Santa Monica Evil Clown,” since 2014. Though he mentioned that he wanted to keep the “killer clown” idea “going,” he made it clear that he had no intention to chase kids. He said that he was an entertainer, who started the whole “evil clown” phenomenon before it got popular for cases of kids being lured into the woods. He said that the terrorizing was never the point. DeGood said he was speaking out for the image of clowns everywhere, so that they are not just known for scaring children and American citizens.
In addition to these people, a group with more global relevance stood at the corner in a crowd waving large flags. They were taking part in the Million Mask March, which is related to the hacker group “Anonymous” who identify as an anti-establishment protest against mass surveillance, corrupt politicians, and extensive governmental control.
The March has been taking place every year on Nov. 5 since 2012, to coincide with the British tradition of Bonfire Night, which started when Catholic Plotters tried to destroy the British parliament by force in 1605. Protesters wear Guy Fawkes masks and march in hundreds of cities around the world, as Anonymous is a global group.
The Santa Monica Anonymous supporters stood at the corner and waved their flags in peaceful protest. Their flags and signs represented a variety of images including the Anonymous symbol, images promoting the legalization of Marijuana, information about the Dakota Access Pipeline and why it should be shut down, and other images depicting anti-government propaganda.
The roughly 20 protesters stood firmly and united on the corner before moving their protest over to city hall. They were positioned right in the flow of people making their way to the Santa Monica Pier, so their protests did not go unnoticed.
By Lea Yamashiro