Social round up: Activists brave triple-digit heat to demonstrate outside presidential summit

Max Zimbert
The Lookout

RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIF. - Demonstrators endured near-record breaking temperatures Friday to catch a glimpse of a presidential motorcade.

Protestors were largely self-segregated into distinct groups: Vietnamese immigrants, Taiwanese immigrants and Falun Dafa followers, a religion outlawed in China. Protests were mostly peaceful, but took on a circus-like atmosphere when Tibetan protestors streaked along Bob Hope Drive. Vietnamese residents from Orange County, Calif. carpooled to the summit site to defend Vietnamese fisherman they said were killed by Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.

Demonstrators held posters, flags, microphones and banners with their messages for both presidents.

Several dozen Tibetan immigrations were outside the grounds from San Francisco, eight of whom carried a larger than life iron statue of a self-immolating monk.

Protesters mostly stayed huddled under the shade of tents or umbrellas they brought, and even though the presidents had already arrived at Sunnylands, excitement built and demonstrators fanned out along the barrier when unmarked vans, black SUVs and California Highway Patrol motorcycle teams passed by.

The local Starbucks at a nearby Vons became an air-conditioned spot of refuge for protesters who had been out in the sun and heat for hours on end.

Among the sea of protesters were a couple Americans eager to see a president they supported.

"It's a chance to see history," resident Adrianna Menoni said.

Obama landed in Palm Springs, but there was one hiccup.