HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Dozens held signs and waved Guam’s flag during a rally for peace on Monday, following a week of heated exchanges between Pyongyang and Washington and a threat from North Korea to fire missiles into the ocean near the U.S. territory.
“Peace, not war, that’s what our island is for,” protesters chanted during the gathering at a park in the island’s capital. Demonstrators sang Guam’s hymn and blew kulo or shell trumpets. Motorists honked in support as they passed by.
Monaeka Flores, 39, said the sounding of the shell was a call for people to “rise up and fight against the oppression and potential violence.” The shell was sounded to urge people to stand in solidarity with Guam’s indigenous Chamorro people and the people of the world, she said.
“If anything should happen here, that’s going to be a global war. It’s a call to respect the people,” Flores said.
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Some women wore traditional floral head crowns called mwarmwars. Some men wore sinahi, or traditional loincloth.
Melvin Won Pat-Borja, 35, said many people in the community are frustrated, scared and worried. “It’s not a good feeling to have your life threatened. I think of this as a very serious, a very real possibility,” he said.
New United Nations sanctions condemning the North’s rapidly developing nuclear program drew fresh ire and threats from Pyongyang last week. Trump, responding to a report that U.S. intelligence indicates Pyongyang can now put a nuclear warhead on its long-range missiles, vowed to rain down “fire and fury” if challenged.
The North then came out with a threat to lob four intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missiles near Guam.
The U.S. territory is a small island about 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) from Pyongyang. It’s a popular destination for tourists from Japan and South Korea and an important base for the U.S. military.