EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 1, 2013

Possible US-led attack on Syria sparks rallies


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — HOUSTON (AP) — Protesters around the world took to the streets Saturday to protest for and against a possible U.S.-led attack on Syria, as President Barack Obama announced he would seek congressional approval for such a move.

Obama said the U.S. should take action against Syria to punish it for what the U.S. believes was a deadly chemical attack launched by Syrian President Bashar Assad this month that killed more than 1,400 people. But Obama said he wants Congress to debate and vote on whether to use force, and has said any possible strike would be limited.

In Boston, more than 200 protesters demonstrated on the Boston Common against the possible use of force against Syria by the U.S. They waved signs and chanted “Don’t Bomb Syria!” over and over again, and at least one speaker said congressional authorization wouldn’t make an attack acceptable.

In Houston, which has a large Syrian-American population, about 100 people lined up on opposite sides of a street in an upscale neighborhood to express opposing views on a possible U.S. attack.

“We want any kind of action. The world has stood silently and it’s been too long. Something needs to be done,” said Tamer Barazi, a 23-year-old civil engineer who carried a Syrian flag and a sign stating “Syrian Americans for peace, democracy and freedom in Syria.”

Standing across the street in Houston’s sweltering heat were those opposing U.S. intervention, outnumbering the supporters of an intervention. Some carried signs stating “We Don’t Want Obama’s War” and “Hands Off Syria.”

“How would you like another country to decide who is going to be the president of the United States?” asked 53-year-old Hisam Saker, a Syrian-American property manager who has lived in Houston for 33 years.

In London, more than 1,000 protesters carrying Syrian flags and placards marched to Downing Street and rallied in Trafalgar Square. Some hailed the parliament’s vote Thursday against British participation as a victory.

And about 700 people turned out for an anti-war demonstration in Frankfurt, Germany, police said. Organizers said only a “sovereign, independent Syria free of foreign interference” would make it possible for the Syrian people to shape the country’s future.

At a protest organized by left-wing opposition parties in Amman, Jordan, Kawthar Arrar described any military intervention as “an aggression on the whole Arab world.” The protesters gathered outside the U.S. embassy, chanting slogans and setting fire to American and Israeli flags.