Opponents of Syrian government plan protest at UCI

October 28, 2011|By Lauren Williams

Syrian-American groups plan to protest at UC Irvine on Saturday.

The Syrian Emergency Task Force's Los Angeles office and Syrian Rising Generation Movement claim Hazem H. Chehabi, chairman of the UCI Foundation, in his capacity as the honorary general consul at the Syrian consulate in Newport Beach represents an oppressive Syrian government dictatorship.

Chehabi is also the medical director at the Newport Diagnostic Center, where activists have protested his alleged support of the Syrian government, the OC Weekly reported.


Protesters held demonstrations at UCI in June.

Ammar Kahf of the task force said the groups are asking that Chehabi step down from his position with the university or disassociate himself from the regime.

"He needs to make a decision sooner rather than later," Kahf said.

In response to the planned protest, the university said it supports protest but also stands by Chehabi.

"We join the world community in expressing outrage at the continued violence toward unarmed civilians in Syria and in demanding that the violence stop," Chancellor Michael Drake said through a spokesperson. "We appreciate Dr. Chehabi's support of our university and our students over the years. We support his efforts and those of the broader world community in reaching a peaceful and just resolution."

Efforts to reach Chehabi for comment were unsuccessful.

Protesters are planning to meet at the university's Bren Events Center, the planned location for the UCI Medal Awards ceremony.

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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