Anti-war protest across US
Condemn Killing of Soleimani
Published: 03:55 PM, 5 January 2020 Updated: 04:31 PM, 5 January 2020
Thousands of antiwar protesters gathered in communities across the country on Saturday to condemn the American drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iran’s top security and intelligence commander.
In cities and towns across the United States, more than 80 demonstrations were planned to oppose the killing of the commander, Qasem Soleimani, and the Trump administration’s decision to send thousands of more troops to the Middle East.
The protests were spearheaded by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, an antiwar coalition, and Code Pink, a women-led antiwar organization.
“Unless the people of the United States rise up and stop it, this war will engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and potentially the gravest consequences,” the coalition said in a statement.
More than 1,000 demonstrators in Washington gathered outside the White House, carrying “No War” signs, Brian Becker, national director of the coalition, said. Others marched in New York City in Times Square, repeatedly chanting “U.S. out of the Middle East.” Crowds also assembled in Albuquerque, Indianapolis, Memphis, Miami and St. Louis.
In Philadelphia, demonstrators outside City Hall carried signs demanding that the United States stay out of Iraq and avoid war with Iran. In San Francisco, an antiwar rally included chanting, singing and speakers. In downtown Chicago, hundreds of demonstrators stood outside Trump Tower, some with signs that read “Stop bombing Iraq.”
In Seattle, a rally was held at a park next to Pike Place Market. Hundreds of people gathered, including 19-year-old Ethan Cantrell, who held a sign that read “please no more war.”
Mr. Cantrell said that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that spanned almost his entire life had been “20 years of pointlessness.”
Aliza Cosgrove, an 18-year-old protester in Seattle, said she would like to see more young people who grew up in the digital age — particularly those who come from privileged backgrounds — demonstrating in public.
“When you go on the internet, you see so many people talking about the world and talking about what’s going on, and they just make jokes or repost something and that’s all they do,” she said. “There’s good in spreading the message on social media, but there’s also direct action in going out and raising your voice.”
Act Now to Stop War and End Racism and Code Pink began calling for nationwide protests on Tuesday, ahead of the drone strike that killed General Soleimani but as tensions were escalating between the United States and Iraq, Mr. Becker said.
Protests were initially planned in 10 to 15 cities and the number grew to 30 by Thursday. When the general was killed near the Baghdad airport early on Friday, the number of participating cities more than doubled, Mr. Becker said.
As of Saturday afternoon, more than 80 protests were organized, Medea Benjamin, a director of Code Pink, said.
She said she had not seen numbers like this since 2003.
“One thing that’s very different this time is that more young people and people of color came out to protest,” Ms. Benjamin added.
Ms. Benjamin said the surge of protesters reflected a momentum and energy that she hoped would be seen and heard by lawmakers.
“It felt like this in September 2002 when we were putting out calls to organize,” Mr. Becker said. “There was the same sense of alarm. This is extremely reminiscent of the months before the Iraq invasion.”
The drone attack drastically ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Tehran, causing online interest in military conscription and “World War III” to surge on Friday.
On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security updated its National Terrorism Advisory System to warn that Iran “is capable, at a minimum, of carrying out attacks with temporary disruptive effects against critical infrastructure in the United States.”
The system’s bulletins, which are shared among law enforcement across the country, also reiterated that there was no current, specific, credible threat against the United States.
Source: New York times
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