A protest in north Fresno on Monday evening was originally planned as a chance for activists to demonstrate their support of Yemen as famine continues there amid an ongoing civil war.
But after about 59 U.S. Tomahawk missiles were dropped on a Syrian air base last week, as ordered by President Donald J. Trump, the protesters at Blackstone and Nees avenues added the possibility of war to their protest.
Dan Yaseen, president of Peace Fresno, said the protest was planned months ago to show support to the people in Yemen, who are suffering from hunger after a war has devastated the country. He said the United States is collaborating with Saudi Arabia by providing weapons to a Saudi-led military coalition fighting against another group for power. The war has led to the blockage of the ports in Yemen from which it gets its food supply. Yemen is considered the poorest nation in the Arab world.
Camille Russell, 74, a member of Peace Fresno, said the U.S. is partly to blame for the famine.
“(The U.S.) is complicit in the famine that is going on in Yemen,” Russell said. “It’s immoral, there is not excuse for it.”
On Syria, Russell said the U.S. has “plenty of things” the U.S. needs to be doing domestically instead of attacking the Middle Eastern country.
Signs at the protest read “No War,” “Stop Bombs in Syria” and “Yemeni People Ravaged by War, Famine.” They were held up as traffic passed the protesters – a larger yellow sign read: “U.S. attack on Syria illegal and immoral.” Drivers honked and, in one case, a vehicle drove by with its passengers chanting “we want war.” Another vehicle showed support for the protesters, with a passenger praising the peaceful demonstration and yelling profanities against President Trump.
“The possible solution is no more bombing Syria, no more helping Saudi Arabia,” said Yaseen, who added war is not the answer and said that the attacks on Syria by the U.S. are not justified.
Russia, an ally of Syria, condemned the missile attack by the U.S. as “aggression.” The airstrikes came after Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad reportedly allowed a chemical weapons attack against civilians.
Yaseen said that a working relationship among the U.S., Russia and China is deteriorating and that a nuclear war has become increasingly more possible as tension grows among the world powers.
“I’m just worried about the nuclear war,” Yaseen said, “because that could be the end of everything.”