Thousands protest against strike on regime

Thousands of people have protested in the United States and Europe over possible plans to strike Syria's regime.

In the US, there were protests in New York's Times Square and outside the White House.

Similar demonstrations took place in London, Paris and the Greek capital, Athens.

In New York, supporters of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, backers of the opposition who want US intervention, and Americans who say they cannot stomach another war all took to Manhattan Square.

"US, Nato, hands off Syria," chanted hundreds of protesters, weaving through thousands of tourists, some carrying pictures of Assad, and some just declaring themselves against another American war.

Khaldon Makhoul, 43, a doctor who moved from Syria to America 17 years ago, said: "It is another lie and a lot of people are gonna die for nothing.

"Where is the chemical weapons? Until now we didn't find it. US soldiers will die for nothing. Where is the evidence?"

Others, Syrians of Christian origin carrying the country's red-black-white flag, defended Assad and wrote off the accusations that he was behind a deadly chemical attack last week as utter lies.

Retired schoolteacher Robert Shainwald said he was against any US involvement.

"I do not want this nation to become involved in yet another war. People always lose, no matter what side. Enough is enough. We should just stay the hell out."

One street down a handful of backers of the Syrian opposition carried the black and green flag chanting: "Assad is a terrorist. Assad is Hitler."

Occasionally as the other protesters walked past they traded angry insults, with police stationed watchfully between them.

Nezar Yabroudi, a driver originally from Damascus, held a sign carrying images of hundreds of dead children from the alleged chemical attack.

"Mr President, do you need more proof?" it read. "People are dying every day.

"How many massacres do we have to wait, how many red lines?" Yabroudi said, referring to US President Barack Obama's promise last year that the use of chemical weapons would constitute a "red line".

- AFP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n3 at 21 Aug 2014 23:07:29 Processing Time: 531ms