Protestors oppose Iran action

Concerns voiced over threat posed by military actions taken in the Middle East

Chris Bird, News Editor

On Jan. 9, roughly 30 protestors gathered on the sidewalks near James Madison Park in Madison to protest the recent killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and the potential for war in the aftermath of this event.

This protest is part of a larger movement across the nation, with 350 other events happening on the same day throughout America, according the website which played a major role in organizing the events.

The week previous, on Jan. 4, there was an even larger protest consisting of about 100 people at the Madison State Capitol triggered by the initial drone strike which the U.S. ordered to kill Soleimani.

Since the larger protest, President Trump had announced that he had no intentions to start a war in Iran, but these protestors are not convinced.

His “idea of de-escalating was to go from threatening bombings to imposing sanctions,” said Linda Kessel, an organizer of the protest.

Many present at the protest mirrored this opinion, saying that they thought that the situation has caused high tensions and increased the chances for war, no matter what the President says.

Trump “keeps putting the United States by itself,” Kessel said, referring to how America’s allies have indicated no desire to become involved in a conflict with Iran.

As the protestors held signs on the side of the road, many cars honked and some shouted support from their cars as they drove by. David, a man waving a flag with the Earth on it at the protest, stated “I think it’s really important for people to take action, even if its small action,” to support what they believe is right or wrong.

Two men of Iranian descent, Ali and Emad, present at the protests stated that they were there because they don’t support “a war in any sort of way,” and that the people of America and Iran shouldn’t fight each other. The people of a country “should not be punished because of other’s misdeeds,” said Emad.

They said that they don’t support the Iranian government, but the people are the ones who will be hurt if things escalate. Emad also said, “We lost a friend in the Ukrainian Flight. He had just got married.”

Jude, a woman holding a “No War” skateboard shared that she had first made the unique sign in order to protest the Iraq war back in 2003. She didn’t think that she would have to protest war in the middle east again, but in light of recent events she thought it was time to bring the sign back out.

The event was organized largely by Indivisible Madison and, but also featured members of groups such as the American Friends Service Committee, the Teaching Assistant Association, and Extinction Rebellion.

Editor’s note: Some of the people interviewed for this article asked to only be identified by their first names.