In cities large and small throughout the United States, the response was swift and strong in condemnation of the U.S. imperialist, cruise missile attacks on Syria in the late evening hours (Eastern Daylight Time) of Thursday, April 6.
Many activists, a good many of whom are socialists and revolutionaries, withstood the corporate-media-spewed Big Lie that Syria allegedly utilized chemical weapons against its own people.
Although most Democrats, liberals and a good chunk of social democrats quickly sided with imperialism and the Pentagon, others took to the streets to protest this blatant intervention and warn others about the dangers of a widening war on the part of U.S. imperialism and its junior “allies.”
The protests linked the imperialist wars abroad with the war against the workers and oppressed here in the U.S., noting there is plenty of money for cruise missiles and weapons of mass destruction while basic social services and public education are slated for demolition by the Trump regime.
Following are reports from activists in several cities where demonstrations took place.
In Philadelphia, Black and Brown youth, workers, Vietnam war veterans and anti-imperialist activists carried out a militant march and rally in support of Syria, refusing to be intimidated by the police, who outnumbered the 100 or so protesters.
The messaging and chants connected various struggles and also condemned U.S. attacks against Yemen, Venezuela and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Chants included “No bombs, no registry! Fuck white supremacy!” and “From Syria to Palestine, occupation is a crime!”
The march ended at the statue of vile racist Frank Rizzo, the city’s former police commissioner, 1968 to 1971, and then mayor from 1972 to 1980. The marchers connected Imperialist occupation and attacks abroad to racist police occupation of oppressed communities at home.
In New York City, after gathering at Union Square, hundreds took to the streets — including large numbers of youth — where protesters were attacked by members of the New York Police Department, who arrested at least 11 people. Among those arrested was Steve Millies of Workers World Party.
Some of the arrestees were brutalized by police, including Nerdeen Kiswani, a NYC Students for Justice in Palestine organizer and a leader in the march. Her head was slammed into the concrete as cops viciously tore her hijab from her head, choking her in the process. (samidoun.net, April 8)
Bayan USA and the International League of Peoples Struggle activists also played a strong role in the NYC march and rally.
‘Militant, uncompromising movement needed’
Anti-imperialist forces from Detroit and the surrounding area joined an emergency demonstration called by Workers World Party immediately following the U.S. missile attack. Militant youth from WWP and Students for a Democratic Society at Wayne State University organized and led the rally, which was strategically held downtown at Campus Martius Park during rush hour.
Protesters raised slogans such as “Feed the hungry, not the Pentagon!” and “The only road to peace is U.S. out of the Middle East!” drawing a direct link between the struggle at home and the struggle of Syrians against U.S. imperialist aggression.
Syrian-American (U.S.) youth organizer Joe Mshahwar of WWP told Workers World, “Students and young workers in the U.S. have nothing to gain supporting U.S. imperialism’s attempts at regime change in Syria. A militant and uncompromising anti-war movement must be ready to challenge further U.S. aggression in the region.”
In Portland, Ore., an emergency hands-off Syria protest got thumbs up and supportive vehicle honks from workers during Friday’s afternoon rush hour. The protest, which was covered by KOIN television, later joined other anti-war demonstrators in the downtown area.
Demonstrators in Seattle marched from Capital Hill to downtown, condemning the racist U.S. war against Syria. The Friday action was energetic despite the driving rain because of the many youthful demonstrators. The protest, called by the Answer Coalition, included participation by Veterans for Peace, the Democratic Socialists of America and World Can’t Wait.
Protesters also gathered in San Francisco in the late afternoon. The rally, organized by the Answer Coalition, included speakers from a broad range of organizations, including the International League of Peoples’ Struggle and Workers World Party.
Protests continue on weekend
On April 8 in Madison, Wis., a diverse group of labor and community representatives came out to protest at Library Mall. Zach Gevelinger, of Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement, said, “We will remain in the streets until U.S. capitalism and imperialism are defeated.” (wibailoutpeople.org).
Protesters turned out in Buffalo, N.Y., on Sunday, April 9, to demand “Stop U.S. war on Syria!” and “U.S. out of the Middle East!” and to explain these demands to the many passersby who stopped to ask. The rally was called by the International Action Center and the Buffalo branch of Workers World Party and endorsed by the National Lawyers Guild Buffalo Chapter & Friends and the Sister District for Western New York, and supported and joined by many other groups.
In Durham, N.C., anti-war protesters gathered at CCB “People’s” Plaza on Sunday for a rally initiated by the Durham branch of Workers World Party. People attending included members of Muslims for Social Justice; Electrical Workers Local 150, the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union; and the Triangle People’s Assembly.
Protesters held a rally at 3rd and Wisconsin streets and then marched to the Federal Building in Milwaukee to demand no U.S. war in Syria and money for human needs not war. Youth, students and members from many labor and community groups participated in the protest, which was sponsored by the Iraq Veterans Against the War-Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Antiwar Committee and the Milwaukee Coalition Against Trump. The Wisconsin Bail Out The People Movement and other organizations supported the action.
According to reports in fightbacknews.org, demonstrations also took place in Minneapolis; Houston; Salt Lake City; Tucson, Ariz.; and Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Protesters in Jacksonville, Fla., were viciously attacked by a small group of Trump supporters and police on April 7. Several were arrested and one protester was beaten so severely he required hospitalization.
Terri Kay, Ava Lipatti, Jim McMahan, Tom Michalak, Lyn Neeley, Tom Scahill and WW staff contributed to this report.
Photos: Brenda Ryan and Joe Catron in New York City; Tom Blake in Buffalo, New York; Joseph Piette in Philadelphia; Terri Kay in San Francisco; Hannah Fahoome in Detroit; MAWO in Vancouver; Milwaukee Antiwar Committee.