By Daniel Montaño, Senior Reporter
Activists gathered in Nob Hill on Saturday Aug 31 to protest the possibility of a United States military strike against Syria, Joel Gallegos, Education major and Answer coalition member said.
The demonstration, which was part of a nationwide string of protests sponsored by the Answer coalition, drew more than 100 people who packed Central Avenue at Tulane Drive, filling sidewalks and medians, and was endorsed by more than nine local activist groups, such as the Albuquerque Chapter of the United Nations Association and (Un)Occupy Albuquerque, Gallegos said.
“We believe that our resources here in the United States are better spent on things like education, on things like housing and healthcare, not war,” Gallegos said.
Protestors raised signs and chanted at passing cars, often receiving a honk in recognition: “Money for jobs and education! Not for war and occupation!” Protestors said.
The protest started at noon just minutes after President Barack Obama made a national address in which he said that any possible military intervention in Syria would not be open-ended, would not include ground troops, and that he would seek congressional approval before making tactical military strikes against key locations suspected of housing chemical weapons.
Gallegos said that he did not trust that Obama’s reasoning for striking against Syria — destroying locations which might hold chemical weapons that were allegedly used against Syrian rebels — reveals the U.S. government’s true intentions for Syria.
“I think it’s ridiculous that the United States government is still using this narrative of weapons of mass destruction. I think they believe the United States public is naïve — that we are going to buy the same old story,” Gallegos said.
President Obama, said during his Saturday address that a chemical weapons attack, which took the lives of more than 1,400 Syrian civilians and injured more than 3,600 who showed signs of being exposed to sarin nerve gas, which was orchestrated by the Syrian government itself, and called the attack an “assault on human dignity” that was “the worst chemical weapons attack of the twenty-first century.”
Obama said that the attack was a menace that “must be confronted.”
But Obama’s address did little to slow the Nob Hill demonstration because protesters believe that the U.S. government’s reasoning is an excuse to begin a war for natural resources and regional power, Gallegos said.
“It’s a way of maintaining power and control over that region, and I feel that the U.S. feels that they are losing control of that region because of recent political turmoil,” he said.
Political Science Instructor, Bob Anderson was in attendance at the demonstration and said that he shares in Gallegos’ sentiments because of his personal experience in the U.S. Military.
Anderson took part in orchestrating several ‘false-flag’ operations during the Vietnam War, in which U.S. troops dressed as North Vietnamese soldiers and attacked fellow U.S. troops in order to justify military attacks, and feels that the situation in Syria is an example of a similar military tactic, he said.
“We instigate civil wars so we can get people fighting against each other, and then in that chaos we create new leadership that is friendly to U.S. intentions,” Anderson said.
Anderson also believes that Obama’s reasons for striking against Syria are contrived and hide a deeper truth, he said.
“I think Obama should be impeached for lying to the American public about what’s going on,” Anderson said.
The chemical weapons attack in Syria on Aug 21 came after months of civil war between Syrian rebels and the Syrian government, which has been ruled by the Assad family for more than forty years, according to a BBC report.
The current uprising began in March of 2012 after 14 school children were arrested and tortured for writing a well-known slogan of similar uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt on a wall that said “The people want the downfall of the regime,” as stated in the BBC report.
A peaceful protest against the children’s arrest took place in the city of Deraa, and Syrian security forces opened fire into the crowd killing four demonstrators, according to BBC.
Within days, the protests in Syria became more violent and unrest spiraled out of control until the Syrian army was dispatched to control the uprising, but instead of stopping demonstrations, the crackdown triggered protests across Syria, according to BBC.