Anti-war in Syria protest held Saturday in downtown Cleveland
Stephanie Ramirez, newsnet5.com
10:49 PM, Aug 31, 2013
11:40 PM, Aug 31, 2013
CLEVELAND - The protests we're so used to seeing across the world, Saturday, took place right here in Northeast Ohio as dozens gathered near Public Square in downtown Cleveland to rally against United States military action in Syria.
"No war on Syria! No war on Syria!" shouted protestors, just hours after President Obama addressed the nation saying he decided the U.S. should take military action against the Syrian government.
However, the President also told the nation he would seek authorization from Congress to do so.
Still, it's the tone of the President that brought dozens to rally Saturday, many of those protesting, Syrian-Americans and immigrants who want help for the country.
Reem Sarkis is a medical student living in Lakewood who described life there now as, "Imagine you're trying to travel from here to Westlake just worrying that you're going to get bombed while traveling. So a lot of times they stay in the towns that they're at so they won't get attacked. It's really scary."
Sarkis condemned the recent chemical attack that authorities say claimed more than 1,000 lives, but those protesting believe the U.S. taking swift action on its own information is following too close to history.
Remembering what happened in Iraq and how the United States first got involved, Bassam Khawam with the group, The Peace Organization, said at the Saturday protest, "We ended up in a mess. Seven thousand American soldiers died, basically for nothing. We don't want this to be repeated in Syria... we want to make sure we don't rush into any conclusion before we have everybody on board from the international community."
The biggest concern for protesters is the fact that the United Nations has not yet concluded their investigation on recent chemical attack.
"We have to follow international law, that's the point. We always urge other countries to follow international law so we should do the same thing. We should respect the United Nation's authority," said Sarkis, who added, "we don't want more killings."
Other protesters including a World War II veteran, Saturday, questioned whether the United States should even be taking the lead in advocating for human rights in this attack, noting the US Government's knowledge and role in the 1980's when Saddam Hussein reportedly killed thousands using nerve gas agents.
Some of Ohio's leaders responded to the President's remarks Saturday
Senator Sherrod Brown wrote in a statement to NewsChannel5:
"I'm encouraged that President Obama will make his case to the American people and seek approval from Congress before taking military action in Syria. We need to build international support around clear objectives for ending the violence against the Syrian people."
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur wrote in a statement:
"I commend President Obama for reaching out to the legislative branch. I will listen carefully to the evidence and to the constituents of the Ninth District, including those with direct knowledge of the region."
Last week in an interview Senator Rob Portman visiting the Flats said, "Syria, if they did use chemical weapons, gas against their own people, that's a red line that we said they couldn't cross so we would need as the United States of America, along with the Europeans, the Turks and the Arab countries that are concerned about that, to take some action."
Congress is expected to resume session September 9th.