Protest for peace travels across Valley
Anti-war petition given to Rep. Ruiz' office
"Demand peace, not war!"
The cries rang out on well-traveled intersections across the Coachella Valley Tuesday morning.
A caravan of a dozen people from a coalition of organizations - including Occupy Coachella Valley, and Veterans for Peace - made stops in Indio, Palm Desert and Palm Springs.
At each stop they were greeted by honks of encouragement from passing motorists, and the occasional disagreement from those that support United States military action in Syria.
"I would say approximately 75 to 80 percent of the people we have talked to or even just walked by, have been very much for us being here, said Bob Terry. "They've thanked us."
The protesters' message was directed toward Congressman Raul Ruiz, who is undecided about a U.S. military attack on Syria.
President Barack Obama is attempting to build support in Congress for a limited military strike on Syria. The administration asserts that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad authorized the use of Sarin gas on his own people.
Tuesday, President Obama asked Congress to delay a vote on attacking Syria amid calls for a United Nations Security Council to come up with a way to quickly secure Syria's chemical weapons supply.
"Raul Ruiz has to stand up to President Obama. He has to tell him no for the war," said Rosie Puentes-Terry. "Vote no for this war. That's why we're taking signed petitions to him to show that the people here are demanding peace, not war."
Veterans for Peace President, Tom Swann says he is a Democrat, but he disagrees with President Obama on this issue.
"Our organization is opposed to a military strike in Syria," Swann said. "We believe there should be a cease fire and that Russia and Iran should stop supplying weapons to the rebels and to the Assad government and that we should have a U.N. inspection team take control of the chemical weapons and avoid war."
A representative from Raul Ruiz' staff greeted the protesters upon their arrival at his office in Palm Springs. Mr. Ruiz is in Washington, D.C. Protesters said Ruiz should be thinking about the people he represents in the Coachella Valley when he is asked to vote, not his political allies.
"He'll know that even if he's getting pressure from Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi and President Obama, who are in his party," Chuck Parker said. "His constituents, what we want, is peace. We're the ones he should answer to ultimately."
Representative Ruiz issued this statement after receiving the petition:
"The decisions we face in the coming weeks are incredibly important to our country and our community, and I value highly the thoughts and insights of my constituents. It is clear that this issue is important to our district, and I will continue to listen to their opinions as the situation in Syria continues to develop."
Following President Obama's speech on Syria Tuesday night, Representative Ruiz issued this statement:
"I am pleased to see the recent developments towards a diplomatic solution to rid the Assad regime of their ability to deploy chemical weapons. I urge the President and his administration to continue working with the international community to pursue this peaceful solution. I will continue to consult with experts on this issue and explore all our options as the situation continues to develop and unfold.”
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