Protestors sweep through Downtown against Trump
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Protesters gathered around the Park Street T-stop as overcast skies loomed over the growing crowd late Friday afternoon. Chanting “no war on Syria,” and “hands off Syria,” the crowd of 200 gathered to voice their criticisms regarding the recent airstrike authorized by President Trump against the Syrian government and forewarned that the country could be going to war.
One of the main organizers of the protest was Massachusetts Peace Action (MAP), a 60-year-old group, the organization is the largest grassroots peace organization in the country.
“We’re upset that President Trump has launched an armed attack on Syria, that is against U.S. law,” said MAP Executive Director Cole Harrison in a recent interview with The Suffolk Journal. “For the President to start a war without Congress, it is also against international law.”
With the help of six peace organizations, campus and socialist groups, the demonstration was organized at 1:00 a.m. on Friday morning, and was then up and running by Friday evening according to Harrison.
According to Harrison, there is no sure way to know who ordered the initial chemical attack in Syria, which supposedly acted as the catalyst for the U.S. airstrike. Harrison said that even though it is difficult to try and solve the ongoing issues in Syria, an airstrike is not the right way to solve any problem.
According to NBC News, the U.S. fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria on Thursday night in response to what it believes was a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 100 people. According to White House Officials, the graphic images arising from the damage done by the chemical weapon attack on Tuesday afternoon carried significant weight for President Trump, which lead him him to pursue possible routes of action. Syria claimed that at least six people were killed after the missiles landed, but the Pentagon said that civilians were not targeted and that the strike was aimed at a military airfield in the city of Homs.
Harrison claimed that this airstrike was a way to distract people from President Trump’s domestic problems due to his unpopularity amongst American residents. Harrison also said that this action was an attempt to increase his popularity and have more civilians fall in line behind him and support a potential war.
“The American people are not going to be benefited by this and he wants 54 billion dollars increase in military spending, he’s [going to] take it out of everything that people depend on. He’s going to take it out of housing, education, environmental protection, and everything else and we have to stop these wars immediately,” said Harrison.
Martha Neuman, junior Northeastern student, told The Journal that she was contacted by one of her co-organizers the night of the attack in Syria and the two decided to take action. Working together with MPA, Neuman said she appreciated the grassroots aspect of the demonstration.
“We can’t stay silent, we can’t sit back and let people continue to be killed both by (President Bashar al-) Assad and by the U.S. government,” she said.
Harrison said that he was pleased with the turnout that was generated by the organizations involved and estimated that there were about 200 participants involved. He said that he hopes that these people will go back to their campuses and communities to educate those who are interested in joining the movement, as well as visiting Congress members to demand further action.
Harrison told The Journal that the next demonstration he will be a part of will be a Tax-Day march in Cambridge on April 15 in the hopes of shedding light on Trump’s budget and its potential effects on the public. Harrison also said that the protest will be calling attention to the tax system and will be calling on Trump to release his own taxes.