Hundreds Of Times Square Anti-War Protesters Decry US Strike On Iran

Mike Sugerman
January 04, 2020 - 2:55 pm
Anti-war protest Times Square

Mike Sugerman/WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Those outraged by the killing of Iran’s top military general, Qasem Soleimani, protested in Times Square Saturday hours after anti-war protesters demonstrated outside Sen. Chuck Schumer’s apartment in Brooklyn.

They chanted things like, “No justice, no peace. U.S. out of the Middle East!” and “Humanity first, not America first!”

There appeared to be hundreds of people taking part in the protest, which also went down a stretch of Broadway on a foggy Saturday afternoon.

Among the groups who set up the protest were Popular Resistance, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace and Voices for Peace.

Eugene Puryear, with the ANSWER Coalition, was among those who help set up the hastily called protest.

“Obviously we're here in Times Square with thousands of people from all around the country, all around the world, to show them that Americans are not in lockstep behind the president, not in lockstep behind these policies,” Puryear said.

Lillian Jones came from Brooklyn because she felt she had to do something.

“It’s an outrage that our president and our country think they can just assassinate people. I thought that was against the law,” Jones said.

The protesters did convince some tourists, including Gemma Johnson from Yorkshire, England.

“They stand up for their own country,” Johnson said. “They know what they want.”

Anti-war protest Times Square
Mike Sugerman/WCBS 880

But they didn’t convince some, including Steve Smith from Maine.

“If we’re not keeping a presence in other countries, they’re going to eventually come on our soil,” he said. “That’s kind of old-school thinking, but it makes sense.”

The protest came hours after a protest outside Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Park Slope apartment Friday night. Schumer has slammed President Trump for not notifying Congressional leaders about the strike.

Protesters from ANSWER Coalition and Democratic Socialists of America voiced their dismay about the strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, saying the U.S. could get dragged into another “endless war.”

“It’s just making the tensions between our two countries much worse. We all remember the war in Iraq and this seems very familiar to a lot of us, and we don’t want another disaster like that,” one man told NBC4.

Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force and mastermind of its regional security strategy, was killed early Friday near the Baghdad international airport along with senior Iraqi militants in an airstrike ordered by Trump. The attack has caused regional tensions to soar and tested the U.S. alliance with Iraq.

Iran has vowed harsh retaliation, raising fears of an all-out war, but it's unclear how or when it might respond. Any retaliation was likely to come after three days of mourning declared by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. All eyes were on Iraq, where America and Iran have competed for influence since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that there he has been discussing safety in New York City with NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and Counterterrorism Chief John Miller.

During the news conference Friday, de Blasio noted there have been previous efforts by Iranian proxy to scout and target locations in New York City and the city is not taking any chances in wake of Thursday's airstrike.