Anti-war chants heard in the Rose Garden during Obama's speech

Washington, D.C., August 31, 2013

Following is a press release issued by the ANSWER Coalition on August 31, 2013:

Reporters present for Obama's speech on Syria reported that the chants of anti-war demonstrators, who were on the sidewalk right in front of the White House, were being heard loud and clear in the Rose Garden. They could also be heard by viewers of the White House live feed. The Park Police and Secret Service brought in horses and used pens to try to break up the rally in the minutes before Obama entered the Rose Garden. Demonstrators, threatened with arrest, refused the unlawful orders to disperse. It is clear that the people's movement in the United States and around the world is having a huge impact on the course of events.

Now, in the face of growing domestic and global opposition, President Obama was forced to step back from an imminent attack on Syria and says that he would bring the issue before Congress, which is currently in recess but due back on Sept. 9.

The symbolism of the moment couldn't be greater as President Obama delayed his speech in the Rose Garden before the assembled media. As he took the lectern, everyone in the Rose Garden could hear the chants of hundreds of demonstrators in front of the White House demanding "No War on Syria." The demonstration, which was initiated by the ANSWER Coalition, was part of days of nationally coordinated actions that have taken place in scores of cities and towns throughout the United States.

"The Obama administration is completely isolated in its efforts to carry out an illegal war of aggression against Syria. 90 percent of the American people oppose a new war in the Middle East. Even British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama's principal ally, was forced to cancel Britain's participation after the House of Commons rejected the resolution authorizing British forces to go to war. With each passing day, the anti-war movement has an opportunity to mobilize, organize and bring together a powerful opposition to stop this new bombing war before it starts," stated Sarah Sloan, National Staff Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition.

"The United States does not have the right to act as judge, jury and executioner. Dropping bombs on or launching cruise missiles at Syria is a violation of international law and would constitute a war crime," Sloan continued.

The ANSWER Coalition asserts that the Obama administration is using the issue of chemical weapons as a pretext to escalate direct U.S. military intervention. For the last decade, the United States has tried to carry out regime change against any independent nationalist government in this oil-rich region, according to the ANSWER Coalition.

Cities holding demonstrations today (Aug. 31) include: Huntsville, AL; Fairbanks, AK; Chico, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, CA; Denver, Longmont, CO; New Haven, CT; Washington, D.C.; Fort Myers, Saint Petersburg/Tampa, Tallahassee; Chicago, IL; Des Moines, IA; Fort Wayne, IN; Louisville, KY; New Orleans, LA; Boston, MA; Traverse City, MI; Cherry Hill, Highland Park, NJ; Albuquerque, NM; Albany, New Paltz, New York City, NY; Asheville, Charlotte, NC; Portland, OR; Horsham, Philadelphia, PA; Dallas, San Antonio, TX; Bremerton, Seattle, Spokane, WA; Jefferson, Milwaukee, WI.

The next protest at the White House will take place on Tuesday, September 3 at 6:30 p.m.

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