Hopefully those demonstrating in Anaheim Sunday in solidarity with peaceful protesters in Syria won't experience what happened in Los Angeles last Saturday.
Fifty protesters gathered in front of the West LA federal building to cheer on Syria's opposition movement and condemn dictator Bashar al-Assad. They were soon joined by 50 Assad supporters.
At first, the two groups kept their distance from one another, chanting in Arabic and English at cars passing by on Wilshire Boulevard. But as the day dragged on, the counter-protesters' numbers grew--and the distance between the two sides shrunk.
Shouting matches ensued, and police had to step in and break up the groups.
"Some of their group are paid informants by the government," anti-Assad activist Mazen Almoukdad later told Neon Tommy, the USC Annenberg journalism school site.
Almoukdad added he recognized a man who he claimed had "spent a few years with secret police and openly represents the [Syrian] government."
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The Anaheim rally is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. Sunday at the corner of Brookhurst Street and Orange Avenue. Organizer Ammar Kahf says the goal is to seek "freedom and dignity and an end to a 48-year brutal dictatorship."
So, yeah, an Assad supporter he ain't.
Syrian-American families throughout Southern California are symbolically joining hands with protesters in Washington, D.C. and other cities around the world calling on the Syrian government to stop shooting at peaceful demonstrators, Kahf explains.
It be nice to keep the protests on these shores peaceful as well. If you'd like to help Kahf accomplish that, email him at email@example.com