Hundreds of activists in Southern California demonstrated for a free Syria this past weekend at the Federal Building in Los Angeles. The event, which lasted for more than four hours, drew approval and often participation from passersby and from motorists on busy Wilshire Boulevard, the latter honking in solidarity and often waving the flag of Syria through a car window.
Titled â€œHoula Massacre Rally for our Childrenâ€, the event referenced the brutal massacre by the Assad regime on May 25th. Demonstrators took their places on both sides of Wilshire Boulevard.
Demanding the ouster of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, the demonstrators carried placards which read: â€œProtect Syrian Civiliansâ€; Help Stop the Killing in Syriaâ€, and â€œSupport Democracy Free Syriaâ€.
Two organizations worked together to hold the event: the Syrian American Council (SAC)-LA and the Southern California Syria Coordination Committee.
Some posters showed graphic photographs of the atrocities committed upon civilians by the current Syrian regime. Others gave the grim statistics of civilians killed, wounded, or missing. A particularly poignant poster told the story of a 13 year old child named Hamzah, who was tortured to death by the Assad people.
The SAC – LA was founded in 2005 to advance the cause of civil liberties and democracy in Syria and to promote friendly relations between our two countries. Information about the group may be obtained at the following address from its President, Hassan Twiet: firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the SAC was founded by Syrian Americans and while they constituted the largest segment of the demonstrators, many people of different faiths and ethnic identities stood in solidarity with them on Saturday.
Information about the Southern California Syria Coordination Committee may be obtained from the groupâ€™s facebook page: www.facebook.com/SoCal.SCC.
â€œI have to stand with these people against such brutalityâ€ said one woman in the crowd.