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Opponents Of U.S. Action

In Syria Gather In Tempe

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Less Than 100 Participate In An Organically-Created Community Discussion About The Potential U.S. Military Action In Syria As Well As A March Down Mill Ave. Saturday Night

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By Joey Hancock
Special for Modern Times Magazine

Sept. 9, 2013 — Armed with signs and their voices, Syria anti-war advocates took to Mill Ave. Saturday night to let their opposition to any American action in the Syrian conflict be heard.

The group assembled at Tempe Beach Park before the march to discuss the issues and prepare themselves for the long night of marching ahead.

When discussions began before the march, tempers were quickly heated.

“What angers me the most is they want to attack Syria with a limited strike now after people have died in a chemical attack and are looking for a moral reason to do so,” said Tyler, an ASU senior who refused to give his last name.

The general assembly lasted two hours while protesters prepared for the march. Many wore masks to protect their identity while others chose to protest in the open.

Making their voices and opinions heard was they key aspect to the march, with many of the demonstrators carrying signs with messages reading, “Stop WW3, “Stop working with Al-Qaeda,” and “Power is not sufficient evidence of truth.”

A discussion point the protesters were trying to make was that America should not be the world’s police force, which Tempe resident Jason Arnett discussed.

“We don’t need to be policing the world,” he said. “They’ve been at civil war now for two years at least and reports of chemical weapons being used since 2012, and now we want to get involved?”

The groups message for the night was for America to stay out of Syria with many believing military action in Syria will lead to more action in other countries.

“This isn’t new. Syria is right next door to Iraq which is right next to Afghanistan which is right next to Iran,” said the group leader who refused to identify himself. “The military has been bombing children and killing hundreds under the pretense of fighting terrorism.”

Most of the protest focused on the Syrian conflict but during the general assembly a different issue arose which two demonstrators discussed in depth.

“I feel like attacking Syria is a way to get to Iran,” said the unidentified group leader. “Denying sovereignty in the Middle East and continuing to build the U.S. empire.”

Another group leader who only gave her first name, Beth, said the march was about staying together.

“We need to have peace amongst each other and stick together.” she said.

The peaceful demonstration started at 7:30 p.m. and lasted a few hours with demonstrators being heckled by a few rowdy bar patrons but remained peaceful throughout.

No arrests were made during the march or general assembly.

The group will continue marching every Saturday night starting at 8 p.m. in Tempe Beach Park.

On the opposing side, Diana Rayes, member of the ASU student organization Save our Syrian Freedom says the pro-military action group has plans to host a vigil for all oppressed nations and be a venue to discuss humanitarian issues.

“We don’t want war to happen but these people need help,” she said.

Rayes, a Syrian-American with 99 percent of her family still living in Syria, is frustrated by the fact it has taken America so long to help.

“It has been very frustrating for us waiting three years for something to happen,” she said. “The fact nothing has happened until now is just frustrating.”

Demonstrations are continuing throughout America and Rayes feels more people need to learn about what is going on before protesting.

“You need to be educated on the subject,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know what is going on and are just hopping on the band wagon.”

Joey Hancock is a student at ASU and a freelance writer.
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