WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Protesters took to the streets of Washington on Saturday, urging Congress to reject President Barack Obama's plan of military action against Syria.
The protesters gathered around noon at the White House, loudly chanting slogans such as "You say more war, we say no war" and " Obama, hands off Syria, Congress, hands off Syria." They walked in circles on the pavement in front of the White House, holding placards reading "Bombing Syria doesn't protect people, it kills them."
Several protesters even played soccer in front of the White House, while chanting "make soccer, not war."
Radhika Miller, an activist with anti-war group ANSWER Coalition, said she is against the strike on Syria because "the bombs we drop around the world explode here at home," as many people in the United States still suffer from joblessness and other pains of a sluggish economy, while billions were squandered in military actions in distant land.
"We are against the war not because we are isolationists," said Miller, pointing to the White House behind her. "It's because the bombs dropped in Syria kill people, and we will not allow you to kill people in our name."
The Obama administration accuses Syrian President Bashar al- Assad's government of using chemical weapons against its own people, which Damascus denies, and Obama has asked Congress to authorize a punitive military strike.
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of anti-war group Code Pink, said in the coming week, the American public will be able to see if the Congress will listen to the voice of the people, or will just go ahead and authorize another war.
"This war will not help the Syrian people, it will not help the American people, and it will not help the international rule of law," said Benjamin, noting the use of force is only legal when it is in self-defense or with United Nations Security Council authorization.
Without UN backing, a U.S. strike against Syria is illegal, Benjamin said.
Multiple polls show that the U.S. public is overwhelmingly against military action in Syria, and the Congress is deeply divided on the issue. The Senate is expected to debate and vote on a resolution to authorize military action next week, and the House of Representatives will vote later.