WASHINGTON, D.C. — Protesters around the world took to the streets Saturday to protest for and against a possible U.S.-led attack on Syria, as President Barack Obama announced he would seek congressional approval for such a move.
Obama said the U.S. should take action against Syria to punish it for what the U.S. believes was a deadly chemical attack launched by Syrian President Bashar Assad this month that killed more than 1,400 people. But Obama said he wants Congress to debate and vote on whether to use force, and has said any possible strike would be limited.
"I do think it calls for a response, but I think it calls for a targeted, limited response," said Rep. David Price (D- NC 4th District). "It's important for this not to lead to a wider war. The American people are weary of war. They're very wary of this kind of involvement."
Senator Kay Hagan agreed. "Without putting American troops on the ground, we need to work to find ways to prevent these atrocities form happening again," Hagan said.
In a statement made earlier this week Republican Senator Richard Burr said, "short of putting troops on the ground, it is time for the United States and our NATO allies to take necessary, punitive military action against the Syrian regime and send a clear signal to its leadership."
Raleigh resident Khalilah Sabra has taken trips to Syria to deliver medical supplies and has friends who live in the war-torn country.
"They're devastated. They were prepared that the United States would intercede immediately. When I got a call, she said we weren't just asking for help, we were asking for this country to save us," Sabra said.
In Houston, which has a large Syrian-American population, about 100 people lined up on opposite sides of a street in an upscale neighborhood to express opposing views on a possible U.S. attack.
"We want any kind of action. The world has stood silently and it's been too long. Something needs to be done," said Tamer Barazi, a 23-year-old civil engineer who carried a Syrian flag and a sign stating "Syrian Americans for peace, democracy and freedom in Syria."
In Washington, as Obama addressed the nation from the Rose Garden, anti-war demonstrators chanted and waved placards outside the White House.
Across the street, Syrians and Syrian Americans who support U.S. action waved flags from their country and shouted for Assad's ouster.
"The conflict's been going on for, what, almost 2 years now. Estimates are 100,000 Syrian civilians have been killed and all of a sudden the U.S. government has manufactured the excuse of the use of chemical weapons in Syria to use that excuse to intervene in Syria," said Tristan Brosnan, 25, of Washington.
In Boston, more than 200 protesters demonstrated in the Boston Commons against the possible use of force against Syria by the U.S. They waved signs and chanted "Don't Bomb Syria!" over and over again, and at least one speaker said congressional authorization wouldn't make an attack acceptable.
More than two dozen protesters gathered at the Arkansas Capitol to oppose a possible U.S. attack. Some wore T-shirts proclaiming "NO U.S. INTERVENTION IN SYRIA."
"I had friends that died in Iraq, and I don't want more people to die for nothing," said Dominic Box, 23, expressing some of the fears of a war-weary public.
In downtown Chicago, about 40 people walked quietly in the rain, circling a sculpture in Daley Plaza. Some carried signs that read "No War In Syria" and "Shut It Down."
"I don't believe in spreading democracy the way they're doing it," said Tyke Conrady, 44, who attended the protest with three friends.
According to a statement given by House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders, the House of Representatives will consider a measure on military action against Syria the week of September 9.