Protesters take over San Jacinto Plaza to oppose US attacks on Syria
Protesters took over Downtown El Paso to vocalize their opposition to the strikes on Syria.
The protest was held Sunday afternoon at San Jacinto Plaza. The crowd was small, but it made a lot of noise.
The protest was organized by the ANSWER Coalition. ANSWER stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. The group is a national antiwar coalition that was founded three days after the 9/11 attacks. The organizer, who's in town from Albuquerque, said the goal Sunday was to tell the truth about what is happening.
“The United States has been involved deeply in the civil war in Syria,” said ANSWER Coalition coordinator Chris Banks. “The goal here is to tell the truth about what's happening. The United States bombed Syria, and they're lying.”
The protesters said the U.S. is lying to the American people about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Syria. They said they think the Trump administration has no evidence. Protesters believe the U.S. should not have gotten involved in the airstrikes. They also said the U.S. is hypocritical.
"The idea that they would go and wage a war because they are against the use of chemical weapons -- well, the United States should get rid of its chemical weapons arsenal, and it has used its chemical weapons,” said Banks. “So we see a great hypocrisy and it makes us unconvinced that there's a case for war."
The protesters also don't believe the Trump administration had evidence to back the military strikes, something that even senators have agreed with.
“There's no real substantiation to the chemical bomb attacks,” said East El Paso resident Andrew Sassasfy.
Sassasfy thinks the U.S. shouldn't be attacking Syria.
“We're killing children and we're using humanitarian efforts as a disguise for that,” Sassasfy said.
Horizon resident Irvin Chavez said he is worried about the resources that he thinks could be better spent in the U.S.
“It's going to cost us millions of dollars and we're just going to create more refugees,” Chavez said. “It only costs $55 million to fix their water lines over there in Flint, Michigan.”
Our reporter asked all the protesters from El Paso whether they think doing something here can actually make a difference. They all said that a small effort can be heard from far away, especially with the use of social media.
“All political organizations start at the bottom. It’s all grassroots movements. Whether it’s here in El Paso or any other city in the United States, this level organization is the base for everything going into the future actually making a difference,” Sassasfy said.
“Not just because it's local but, everywhere in the world, there's protests,” Chavez said.
“We think that the protest here is small, but we’re part of a global majority. The majority of the people of the world are demanding that the U.S. stop a new war in Syria,” Banks said.
There was no one at San Jacinto Plaza opposing the protesters' opinions, and there were similar protests taking place in other cities, such as San Francisco, and in other countries, such as Jordan.