SeaWorld San Diego’s Sea Lion & Otter Amphitheater exhibit. Photo credit: DestinationFearFan, via Wikimedia Commons

About 20 people attended a protest Saturday at SeaWorld San Diego, part of the ninth annual “Empty the Tanks Worldwide Event.”

Protesters seek to bring awareness to the conditions faced by captive whales and dolphins.

The protest began at SeaWorld Drive and SeaWorld Way at 11:30 a.m. and was among more than 70 similar events planned around the world, organizer Ellen Ericksen said.

She said the group was also trying to get the San Diego City Council at its next meeting to stop the Sea World fireworks show, happening now on Fridays and Saturdays at about 8 p.m.

The fireworks displays damage the environment, scare residents’ pets, and are too loud for nearby residents, Ericksen said.

The protest crowd in past years, before the pandemic, usually numbered about 100, she said.

“This pandemic is a game-changer,” she said.

Ericksen plans to hold one or two protests at Sea World every month. The animals at Sea World are being held “like captive criminals. It’s horrible and it will end,” the longtime activist said. “People are waking up.”

Sea World has 10 orcas, and Ericksen says one has been in captivity for 54 years.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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