Using the social media hashtag #HandsOffSyria, groups like the International Action Center, IAC, the ANSWER coalition and Code Pink rallied hundreds of people to denounce renewed U.S. war in the Middle East. The largest actions took place in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington D.C., NBC New York reports.
“It doesn't matter who is in the White House. The U.S. military and the corporations will always wage wars,” IAC co-director and protest organizer Sara Flounders said at the New York City rally, RT reports.
“Let us not forget that the U.S. government insisted that it was required to go to war in Iraq to prevent the government of Saddam Hussein from using weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons existed in 2003,” the Los Angeles branch of ANSWER said in a statement.
In both cities, demonstrators held signs that read “Hands Off Syria,” “U.S. Out of the Middle East,” and “Another War Built On Lies.” In Washington D.C., police shut down the Pentagon Metro stop in response to #HandsoffSyria protesters, according to the IAC.
And in Chicago, protesters chanted: “Hey, Hey, Donald J: How many kids have you killed today?” CBS Chicago reports. The chant is a rendition of the old Vietnam War-era slogan directed then at President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Protests were also held in Detroit, Buffalo, Anchorage, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago and Richmond. Additional actions are being planned in Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Boston in the coming days.
The U.S. launched dozens of tomahawk cruise missiles at the Shayrat air base in Homs Thursday night. The Russian Defense Ministry claims that only 23 of 59 missiles reached the intended target, with the remainder landing in nearby villages. Syrian media sources report that 15 civilians died in the attack, including four children.
The attack was a response to an alleged Sarin gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. The incident claimed 89 lives, including 33 children and 18 women, according to local opposition authorities.
Lambasting the United States' aggression against Syria, Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations Sacha Llorenti compared the basis for the unilateral move to former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's infamous 2003 presentation to the body, when fraudulent evidence of an alleged Iraqi weapons program was presented to justify the U.S. war on Iraq.
“I believe it's vital for us to remember what history teaches us and on this occasion (in 2003), the United States did affirm, they affirmed that they had all the proof necessary to show that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction but they were never found … never were they found,” Llorenti told the emergency Security Council meeting on Friday.