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‘No war on Syria’

Published Jun 13, 2012 8:50 PM

Los Angeles, June 9.

People of Syrian and Arabic origin from the Los Angeles area led the first demonstration in the U.S. to warn and protest against U.S. intervention in Syria.

Hundreds of people gathered June 9 at the Westwood Federal Building in Los Angeles to demand “Hands off Palestine and Syria,” “No U.S. war on Arab lands” and “Money for jobs, not war on Syria.” Many signs were held by people from the Syrian community who support the Syrian government.

While there may have been different evaluations of the Syrian government and the peaceful opposition forces in Syria, the main focus of the demonstration was loud and clear: People from the Syrian community, the international community and Arab Americans are overwhelmingly against any U.S. intervention in Syria, as are U.S.-based progressives.

Many people held signs reading, “No more Libyas,” referring to the brutal U.S.-coordinated NATO bombing and war against that country. The protest was organized by the Arab Americans for Syria and the International Action Center. The Union of Progressive Iranians also participated in the protest along with anti-war activists.

Counterdemonstrators, the overwhelming majority for U.S. intervention in Syria, held the French colonial version of the Syrian flag and images of the U.S. as a red, white and blue eagle under the slogan “Free Syria,” and one man even flew a large Saudi flag. A few times during the rally, counterdemonstrators drove by and spit on protesters.

In spite of the sometimes violent tone of the counterdemonstrators, anti-interventionist and anti-imperialist activists were able to drown out their voices with speeches focusing on stopping U.S. war, exposing U.S.-sponsored terrorism in Houla, and messages of solidarity from progressive Iranians who spoke of the danger of the U.S., the U.N. and NATO against their country. Much attention was also given to the reading of a statement from former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark exposing past war crimes by the U.S. and NATO.

The protest lasted until 9 p.m., with a silent candlelight vigil dedicated to all the children who’ve died from terrorism in Syria. All at the protest agreed that the U.S. and its allies in the Persian/Arabian Gulf region were responsible for sponsoring much of this terrorism.

Everyone agreed — from Syrians to non-Syrian Arab people, to anti-war and pro-Palestine activists — that the worst thing for Syria and its sovereignty would be U.S. intervention. That would threaten the ability of the Syrian people to shape Syria in the manner they desire.