Peace activists strike chord Sunday afternoon with calls to stay out of Syria

Posted Sept. 01, 2013, at 4:18 p.m.

Poll Question

BELFAST, Maine — Every Sunday afternoon since October 2001, when the first American bombs fell on Afghanistan, a group of committed peace activists have taken over the sidewalks at the corner of High and Main streets to protest war.

They don’t usually get the kind of response they did this Sunday, when drivers honked and shouted encouragement to the dozen protesters who held signs imploring: “Stay out of Syria,” “No War” and “The U.S. has no legal right to bomb Syria.”

On Saturday, President Barack Obama decided to seek congressional authorization for punitive military action against Syria. In recent days, Secretary of State John Kerry said that tests had shown sarin nerve gas had been fired on rebel-held areas near Damascus last month with many people killed, including many children.

Cathy Minke of Waldo said that more people than usual opted to stand on the corner with their signs this week, and she’s definitely heard more support than she does on other Sundays.

“People are absolutely with us,” she said. “Who gave the United States the right to punish? What about the United Nations? I just think it is the height of arrogance.”

Larry Dansinger of Monroe said that an American missile strike on Syria wouldn’t lead to a peaceful outcome.

“We’re not going to end the violence there,” he said. “Do something to end the violence, not magnify it.”