Members of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) and others opposed to possible U.S. military action in Syria are planning to protest on a downtown Knoxville sidewalk this morning.
OREPA members Ralph Hutchison and Sister Mary Dennis Lentsch sent out a message to their supporters over the weekend, referring to the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons against its people as “a horrific crime against humanity”. But the message also says the arguments advocating a military response by the U.S. are “an insult to any thinking citizen” and suggests the idea that Syrian President Bashar Assad will respond to provocation is “insane.”
U.S. President Barack Obama says the U.S. has a “moral obligation” to stop the killing of citizens in Syria and has been pushing for a military response. He will take his case to the American people Tuesday night during a prime-time speech from the White House. The speech can be heard live on 91.9 FM WUOT.
“As obscene as the use of chemical weapons in Syria was,” Hutchison told WUOT in an email, “it is almost as obscene for supporters of military action to lay claim to a ‘moral obligation’ to respond.”
Hutchison says he doesn’t know how many people will show up for today’s lunchtime protest outside the Howard Baker Federal Courthouse. “We can do something, even if it's just a few of us,” he says.
Although Hutchison and Lentsch are both organizers with OREPA, Hutchison says today’s protest is not an official OREPA rally.