Groups against Syria strike to protest in Charleston
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A vigil will be held Monday night in Charleston to oppose military intervention in Syria.
The West Virginia Citizens Action Group and West Virginia Patriots for Peace will co-host the event, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Haddad Riverfront Park. Participants will call on Congress to "Just say NO" to a strike in the war-torn Middle East country.
"This vigil is one of countless that will be taking place at the same time in WV and all over the nation as a national day of action opposing going to war against Syria," organizers said in a statement.
More than 40 people showed up to the protest last week. Protesters said then they were tired of the United States serving as the world's police force and that money spent on one cruise missile could fund a pre-school in West Virginia.
The Syrian government, under the leadership of President Bashar Assad, is believed to have used sarin, a toxic gas that affects the nervous system, against Syrian citizens rebelling against his regime.
It can be delivered in gas form in bombs, rockets, missiles or artillery shells and is outlawed under the international rules of warfare.
President Barack Obama announced late last month he would seek Congressional approval before any military strike against the Middle Eastern country. Lawmakers met all last week to learn about the situation.
Both the Rev. Jim Lewis, a Patriots for Peace board member, and Gary Zuckett, executive director for the Citizens Action Group, were at last week's rally and applauded President Obama for giving Congress the opportunity to talk about the situation.
Lewis said countries in that region, such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have taken Syrian refugees. He hoped those countries would take action against Syria.
"I would like to think that if something like this was going on in my backyard I would do something about it," Lewis said last Sunday of the Middle Eastern nations. "They know a little bit more about the situation there."
Zuckett called it a no-win situation and said that military intervention could escalate the problem further.
"We need to be rebuilding here at home, not bomb Syria," Zuckett said. "We need jobs but not those building bombs. We need to be building bridges and roads and schools here."