Motorists honked their horns Monday on Anacapa Street in support of a large crowd holding pro-Ukraine signs in front of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.
The signs, which protested Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, varied from “Stop Putin!” to “Putin: War Criminal” to “Stand With Ukraine!” Many had the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag.
The Santa Barbara crowd included women and men of all ages, as well as Franciscan Friars from the Santa Barbara Mission.
Before standing along Anacapa Street, the crowd listened to speakers during a rally organized by the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee.
One young man in the crowd, Bryce Lupoli, held a sign that said, “I Stand for Peace.” The Santa Barbara resident told the News-Press he has multiple loved ones who were born in Ukraine.
“I have shared Christmases and New Years with them,” Mr. Lupoli said. “One of them is very likely fighting in the streets.
“We ought to feel strongly about the atrocities committed against our fellow humans,” he said.
Before the rally, Barbara Gaughen-Muller, the past president of the Santa Barbara and Tri-Counties Chapter of the United Nations Association of the U.S.A., spoke to the News-Press.
“We believe that peace is possible,” she said.
Speakers included 1st District Supervisor Das Williams, who told the News-Press he was impressed with the strong response from the U.S. and the West — something that Russian President Vladimir Putin hadn’t expected.
“And he was not expecting Germany would join us,” Supervisor Williams said. “And the Swift (banking system) cutting off Russia was a really good move. That isolates them economically.
“But the big thing that is left is the oil,” Mr. Williams said. “We’ve got to stop the import of Russian oil. That’s a big source of cash for them. We can get by without it.”
“We want to know the money we’re putting into the pumps isn’t going to destroy apartment buildings in Kyiv or Kharkiv.”