Hundreds Gather To Protest War In Syria
Posted by Melissa Simon on Sep 9, 2013 - 4:08:23 PM
Crowd gathered at Hollywood Boulevard. Photo credit: Luna Chan
HOLLYWOOD HILLS—Hundreds of people gathered at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue on September 8 to protest the possibility of the United States joining the war in Syria.
“We are peacefully protesting the escalation of US military involvement in Syria, as well as the complete disregard of the will of the American people in the decision to begin a new war,” according to protest organizers for “Last Stand: No War with Syria” on the Facebook event page. “We in no way support the actions of the Assad regime, but are convinced that US intervention will instigate more violence and suffering," they added.
Around 2 p.m., participants with signs stating their opposition gathered near a large outdoor mall and the Chinese theater. With a portable PA system in hand, protesters chanted “1,2,3,4/We don’t want your f--king war!” while the rhythm was kept with a drum decorated with a peace symbol. Other chants included “Hands off Syria” and “Obama lies, people die/Revoke Obama’s peace prize.”
John Romans, a participant at the rally, posted on the event page that it was a pleasure to be at the rally to “show the world we care, and that some Americans are honorable people.”
“In my humble opinion, cleaning up the chanting could improve the level of absorption by the average family man or woman walking with their children, and hateful words…are unacceptable,” he wrote.
Police on horses keeping protestors out of the streets. Photo credit: Jacob Grair
“#LastStandLA was a beautiful show of solidarity amongst people against US intervention in Syria and imperialism,” said Alissa Kokkins on the Facebook page. “The location of Hollywood and Highland felt more effective that the federal building or City Hall in terms of reaching people and getting the message out, despite police repression.”
Police were present during the rally on both horses and bikes and continuously warned protesters to stay out of the street. According to reports, protesters spilled into the street at one point and had to be moved back by police.
According to Captain Cory Palka of the LAPD Hollywood Patrol Division, two arrests were made, including a known protestor with a warrant out for failure to appear in court and the other for suspicion of involving with a police investigation. Palka said the protests were “very peaceful” and that there was “minimal traffic disruption.”
During the protest, LAPD Hollywood Division tweeted the following: “Anti-war in Syria protest has drawn a couple of hundred protestors to Hollywood and Highland, Traffic is terrible. Avoid the area.”
The protest comes in the wake of debate over whether or not the US should join the war in Syria because of allegations that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind a chemical weapons attack that killed 1,400 lives.
“Assad’s deplorable use of chemical weapons which we know killed hundreds of innocent people, including at least 426 children on this occasion…this one occasion,” said Secretary of State John Kerry on September 7. “This crosses the international, global red line.”