Protests ramp up as White House pushes for military strike in Syria

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – Hundreds of people rallied in Times Square Saturday and then marched down to Union Square.

Tony Murphy of the International Action Center helped organize the protest.

“We can’t afford this war. We can’t afford another war. And we are going to try and stop this war and we need the people of Syria to know that,”  Murphy said.

Amr Shayeb moved to the United States from Syria seven years ago. He joined the protests.

“Syrian people can help themselves. If the international community wants to help the Syrian people it’s only by diplomacy,” said Shayeb. “Tomahawk and cruise missiles won’t add any help for Syrian people.”

The Obama administration continued its push Saturday to persuade the American people and Congress that a military strike on Syria is needed to stop the use of chemical weapons.

President Barack Obama devoted his weekly online address to Syria. Obama maintained there will be no soldiers on the ground.

“Any action we take would be be limited- both in time and scope- designed to deter the Syrian government from gassing its own people again and degrade its ability to do so,” Obama said.

Upper West Side resident Will Staton agreed with President Obama.

“I think that the United States government, whether we want to be the world police or not, has an obligation to do what’s right,” Staton said. “I don’t think it’s acceptable for us to sit back and watch innocent people die.”