With bloodshed continuing, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said in a statement yesterday that the Syrian government is "in contravention" of a six-point peace plan laid out earlier this month by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan. Moon went on to add that he was "gravely alarmed" by reports of continued violence including deadly shelling in the city of Hama. The second point of Annan's six point plan unequivocally calls for "UN-supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians."
"Several groups including Syrian American Council and the Southern California Syrian Coordination Committee have called for the rally," saysRashad Al-Dabbagh
, communications director for SAC. Organizers expect a sizable turnout along the sidewalks as there has been a lot of lead-up time and effort building up for the action.
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"We are gathering to stand in solidarity with the Syrian people and demanding that our government take more tangible action. We want President Obama to take a strong position in establishing safe zones in Syria to protect civilians and encourage army defections," Al-Dabbagh says of the political demands of the rally. "Protestors in Syria have been asking for that for awhile as they feel abandoned by the international community."
"We're not asking for ground troops or anything like that."
The UN has placed the death toll at approximately 9,000 since the challenge to al-Assad's regime began more than a year ago on March 15.