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Cerritos Gandhi Statue Demonstration Attracts 75 to 100 Protestors

Protesters gather outside of Cerritos City Hall to speak out against a statue of Gandhi that is placed nearby at Carmenita Road and Alondra Boulevard. Between 75 and 100 people attended the demonstration.  Randy Economy Photo

Protesters gather outside of Cerritos City Hall to speak out against a statue of Gandhi that is placed nearby at Carmenita Road and Alondra Boulevard. Between 75 and 100 people attended the demonstration. Randy Economy Photo

By Brian Hews

A peaceful but vocal demonstration was held in two different locations in Cerritos this past Saturday morning to protest a statue of Mathama Gandhi that stands in front of a law firm office at the corner of Carmenita Road and Alondra Boulevard.

The protest was coordinated by the Organization for Minorities of India and was attended by nearly 100 protesters who came as far away as Sacramento, San Francisco and Arizona to speak out against the statue that has now become a hot-buttoned political issue for people on both sides of the issue.

“The city, especially Mayor Bruce Barrows, will not stop hearing from us until it begins listening to us,” said Bhanjan Singh, one of the organizers of the group. Singh held a microphone that was anchored to a portable speaker stand under a shaded tree at the Cerritos Civic Center.

“Our protests will end the moment the city withdraws its approval from this monstrous statue,” said Singh.

The protest also attracted nearly 20 high school students, many holding signs that proclaimed: “No Place For Gandhi In Cerritos,” and “Gandhi Was A Child Molester.” Amauadeep Kaur a 17 year old Senior at nearby Sunny Hills High School said that “students are only told that Gandhi was a peaceful man who only believed in love and compassion, and that simple is not true.”

“It is important for young people to be involved and engaged in this discussion,” Kaur said.  “This is the first time I have been involved in a public protest, and the voices of the entire community needs to be head on this issue,” she said.

The protest began at around 11 a.m. in the lawn area of the Cerritos Civic Center under a blazing summer sun.  By 11:30 the group marched in unison up a flight of stairs, standing directly under the office of Mayor Barrows, City Manager Art Galuicci, as other city council members.

“Mayor Barrows, and City Council Members…we demand that you use your influence to have this statue removed.  We are not against Gandhi, we are against his actions, and a religious figure has no business being honored with a piece of public art here in this community,” said speaker Pieter Singh.

Another protestor Navjot Kur travelled from Corona to take part in the picketing.  “I am here to support the facts of what Gandhi did back home.  People need to do their own research on what he did and how he really conducted his life.  Remember, this statue is art work and it memorializes his life and we need to have an open dialogue about what is considered to be art and what is considered to be a political statue,” Kur said.

A small group of 10 to 15 supporters of the Gandhi statue also attended the event at Cerritos City Hall.  “We are here to support the statue and the rights of Chugg Law Firm to have the art piece in front of its business,” said a local resident who identified himself as Ali Patel of Cerritos.

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