Nelson Mandela, weary from a 3 1/2-week international tour, was cheered by thousands Friday as he came to California to press for continued economic sanctions to end white-minority rule in South Africa.
Mandela and his wife, Winnie, stood in bright sunlight on the steps of City Hall as a crowd estimated at 15,000 chanted "Mandela" and local officials and movie stars hailed him."For us in our youth, Hollywood was the stuff of dreams," Mandela, 71, told them. "In a sense our youthful dreams are to some extent being realized, but we are particularly overjoyed to be in this city because Los Angeles is a staunch supporter of the anti-apartheid movement."
Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison, is deputy president of the African National Congress.
He made no overt reference to the use of violence, an issue that generated controversy in Washington, when he met with President Bush and rejected the president's plea that all parties reject violence.
However, he said the finest tribute he could give to supporters of his cause "is to intensify the anti-apartheid struggle on all fronts."
He appeared, however, to try to mend fences with Bush over the disagreement.
"Having met President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker we would like to say that they are also a part of the anti-apartheid forces of this country."
After the City Hall speech, he left to meet with another former political prisoner, Natan Sharansky, who was jailed for eight years in the Soviet Union.
Mandela was scheduled to speak to a fund-raising dinner at the Armory Building and later address a star-studded rally and concert at the Memorial Coliseum before a sellout crowd of 75,000.