Dozens of protesters rallied outside the Western Riverside Council of Government's General Assembly at Casino Morongo Thursday. Their target -- keynote speaker former president George W. Bush.
"We're here to give the message about the war crimes committed by George W. Bush. There's no open discussion," said protest organizer Matthew Snyder.
Shining light on Bush's role in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, stood multiple organizations including occupy groups from Riverside to the Coachella Valley. However, inside, the general assembly's focus was "Leadership in a Changing World."
"If you're asking a question about leadership and that's the theme of the event, you're asking the wrong person," said Snyder.
Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit was one of the attendees of the sold out event.
"There's a lot of people, democrat or republican who appreciate the office and hearing from someone in the history books," said Benoit.
He said the recent recognition for the Coachella Valley, welcoming President Barrack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping last week and Bush this week, is an honor and privilege.
"We are fortunate to be large enough to be able to demand (Bush's) presence. It means a lot."
A recent Gallup Poll indicates that for the first time since 2005, more people approve of former president George W. Bush than disapprove. However, for some, they'll neither forgive nor forget.
"Instead of ignoring and saying the past is the past, by ignoring the past, we in effect create culture criminality," said Snyder.