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Tampa protests U.S. plans for war on Syria

By Jared Hamil

Protesters chant Hands Off Syria to Sen. Bill Nelson.

Tampa, FL – As President Obama seeks approval from Congress to attack Syria, protests have been spurring up all over the country. Over 150 protesters gathered in Tampa to demand “U.S. hands off Syria.” Protesters gathered at an intersection, Sept. 7, chanting and waving signs while motorists honked in support. This protest had grown in size from last week, with many more Syrian Americans attending.

Different organizations came out, including the Friends of the Syrian American Forum, St. Pete for Peace, Students for a Democratic Society, Veterans for Peace and Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

For several hours the protesters chanted in both English and in Arabic, while waving signs and Syrian flags. Towards the end of the protest, a protester called the office of Florida Senator Bill Nelson, a pro-war Democrat. The entire protest was put on speaker-phone and then recorded a message to the Senator – “Hands off Syria!”

At the end of the rally Matt Hastings of Students for a Democratic Society said, “We hear the U.S. government tell lies about WMDs, but we know that it is, in fact, the U.S. government that has and uses weapons of mass destruction. It was the U.S. who dropped nuclear bombs on civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, dropped depleted uranium bombs in Yugoslavia and used napalm to terrorize in Vietnam. Under Obama’s presidency, the U.S. has used drone strikes to terrorize and cause mass destruction in numerous countries. This must come to an end.”

Currently President Obama wants congressional approval to attack Syria. Students for a Democratic Society in Tampa are planning to protest Florida Senator Bill Nelson. Since day one, Nelson has been one of the biggest war hawks, urging the Democratic Party to back military action against Syria. Protesters plan to come back to the intersection with more people to hold a presence.

Syrian Americans waving signs and flags.

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