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University of Houston students rally for Syrian refugees, demand end to U.S. wars

By Fabian Van Onzin

University of Houston rally in solidarity with Syrian refugees on Dec. 4.

Houston, TX – Students and anti-war activists at the University of Houston rallied in solidarity with Syrian refugees on Dec. 4. They also protested the U.S. war in Syria that is driving millions of Syrians out of their country. Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott recently said in a letter to President Obama, “Texas will not accept any refugees from Syria.” Governor Abbott filed a lawsuit against the federal government in an effort to prevent Syrian refugees from resettling in Texas.

The student protesters at The University of Houston gathered in front of the MD Anderson Library to reject Governor Abbott's fear-mongering, Islamophobia and national chauvinism against Syrian people. Their signs read, “Drop tuition, not bombs.” “Syrian refugees are welcome here,” and “Refugee solidarity.”

The protest quickly grew to over 25 people despite students preparing for final exams. Two local TV stations covered the event, as well as the university's newspaper, the Daily Cougar.

After a short rally, the students marched across the campus chanting, “Hey Abbott let’s be clear, refugees are welcome here!” and “What do we want? U.S. out of Syria! When do we want it? Now!” and “No to war! Yes to peace! U.S. out of the Middle East!” Students who came to watch the march showed their support with a friendly nod, a raised fist of solidarity or by shouting support.

Vera Lynn, with the Houston Anti-War Committee, said, “The U.S. war in Syria has driven millions of people out of their country and created an international refugee crisis. This is a massive violation of human rights. People's families and homes have been destroyed by the war, and when they try to resettle, they face discrimination and hostility. We feel that refugees have every right to be in the U.S. and demand an end to imperialist wars in Syria, the Middle East and Latin America.”

Students for a Democratic Society in conjunction with the Houston Anti-War Committee organized the protest.

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