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Friday, May 24
The Indiana Daily Student

Locals protest proposed action in Syria

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The Bloomington Peace Action Coalition took to the square in downtown Bloomington Monday evening to protest against the current proposal for U.S. military intervention in Syria.

The protest followed President Obama’s announcement last Saturday that he would seek congressional approval for U.S. intervention in the ongoing Syrian Civil War.

Timothy Baer, an organizer of the event in Bloomington, said 110 people were present at the protest during its peak.

He said military intervention in Syria should be important to people living in Bloomington, despite the fact the war is happening more than 6,000 miles away.

“We’re United States citizens, and this will affect the people of the United States and the people of the world,” Baer said.

Obama’s current proposal to Congress involves what he has labeled as a limited military strike on alleged chemical weapons and military sites. As of now, his plan sets no limit on the duration of time spent in Syria or on the geography involved.

David Keppel, another organizer of the event, said protesters want Congress to vote “no” to Obama’s proposal. He said the current course of action carries the high risk of America becoming entrenched in the Syrian conflict going forward.

Instead, Baer said he advocates a diplomatic solution that would engage all of the involved parties, including Iran and Hezbollah, event though the U.S. has no formal diplomatic ties with either.

“They need to put all of the parties together,” he said. “There shouldn’t be any pre-conditions stipulating they aren’t terrorists.”

Keppel said the Bloomington Peace Action Coalition has another protest planned to take place at 5 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Monroe County Courthouse.

In the meantime, the group suggests citizens contact their government representatives with personal letters or phone calls and not just settle for signing a petition. Keppel said given the complexities of the situation, many Congress members may surprise their constituents with which side they fall on.

Baer said to himself and many others, it’s clear what Obama has proposed in Syria is only going to make matters worse.

Keppel said although Obama says he is “sending a signal” to Assad, a signal only works if it’s a signal of something else.

“This will no more be a limited strike than an alcoholic taking their last drink,” Keppel said.

Follow reporter Hannah Smith on Twitter @hannsmit.

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