Iranian general's killing sparks countrywide protests in US

Published January 5, 2020
People hold signs outside the Texas state capitol in Austin, Texas on Saturday to protest the possibility of a new war in the Middle East. — Ana Ramirez/Austin American-Statesman via AP
People hold signs outside the Texas state capitol in Austin, Texas on Saturday to protest the possibility of a new war in the Middle East. — Ana Ramirez/Austin American-Statesman via AP
Activists gather in Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to protest recent US military actions in Iraq.  — AP
Activists gather in Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to protest recent US military actions in Iraq. — AP

Demonstrators took to the streets across the US on Saturday to protest the Trump administration’s move to send thousands of more troops to the Middle East as well as the killing of Iranian General Qasim Soleimani, earlier in the week.

More than 70 planned protests were organised by CODEPINK — a women-led anti-war organisation — and Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, a US-based anti-war coalition, along with other groups.

From Tampa to Philadelphia and San Francisco to New York, protesters carried signs and chanted anti-war slogans.

President Donald Trump ordered Friday’s airstrike near Baghdad’s international airport that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Iran has vowed retribution, raising fears of an all-out war, but it’s unclear how or when a response might come.

Protest organisers said the Trump administration has essentially started a war with Iran by assassinating Soleimani.

In Miami, nearly 50 protesters gathered. Drivers heard people shouting, “No more drone murders,” “We want peace now” and “What do we want? Peace in Iran.”

A few hundred demonstrators gathered in Times Square on Saturday, chanting “No justice, no peace, US out of the Middle East!”

“The United States is trying to use Iraq as a proxy war,” said Russell Branca, 72, of Queens. “If the United States and Iran are going to fight, it’s not going to be in the United States and it’s not going to be in Iran, it’ll be in other places. And it’s just crazy because none of this is necessary.”

In Minneapolis, protesters gathered near the University of Minnesota holding signs and chanting. Among them was Meredith Aby, a longtime leader of the local Anti-War Committee.

“We need to be pulling out of Iraq, not sending thousands of more troops. We need to be trying to cool things down with Iran, not pouring gasoline on a fire,” Aby, 47, said.

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