SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Activists outside the Russian Consulate in San Francisco staged a “die-in” Thursday to protest Russia’s involvement in the war in Syria and its toll on civilians.
The Palestinian Youth Movement organized the protest in which about a dozen activists laid on the sidewalk outside the front door of the consulate in the city’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, covered in fake blood.
The activists demanded that Russia stop propping up the Syrian government and killing Syrian civilians. They also hung banners that read, “Aleppo is bleeding” and “Sign our book of condolences for 450,000 Syrians killed,” in reference to a book of condolences being signed for Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey G. Karlov, who was assassinated by a gunman earlier this week in Ankara.
“These deaths are on your hands Putin,” said a protester outside the Russian Consulate in a Facebook Live video. “They are on your hands and we will not stop holding you accountable until every single Syrian is safe and free from death and destruction, and free to live in dignity and self-determination. We will not stop.”
Protesters chanted, “Free, free Syria. No Assad and no Russia.”
On Thursday, the Syrian government claimed full control of Aleppo with the help of a Russian-backed military campaign.
Earlier this month, the international organization Human Rights Watch released a statement saying, “A Human Rights Watch investigation of the aerial bombardment campaign of Aleppo in September and October found that the Russian-Syrian coalition had committed war crimes through targeted attacks on civilians or indiscriminate attacks that did not distinguish between civilians and fighters.”
The Associated Press reported Thursday that the Russian-Syrian coalition had targeted all remaining hospitals in Aleppo.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on Wednesday establishing an investigative body to “to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses” committed in Syria since the war began in 2011, and “prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings.”
The Russian Consular General of California, Sergey V. Petrov, did not immediately respond to CBS San Francisco’s request for comment about the allegations by protesters and international human rights groups.
By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter: @hannahalbarazi.