On Thursday, Jan. 9, dozens of people gathered on Bicentennial Plaza in downtown Raleigh to protest recent conflicts between Iran and the United States and to come out against any future military actions.
Last Friday, Jan. 3, President Donald Trump authorized a drone strike that killed Qassim Suleimani, major general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to The New York Times. Iran responded by launching two strikes against United States bases in Iraq, and while Trump imposed new economic sanctions against Iran, neither side has called for more military action, The Times reported.
The protest was planned as a part of a national No War With Iran day of action, organized by the MoveOn advocacy group and political action committee.
The event began at 6 p.m. with an introduction from Elena Ceberio, one of the hosts. Ceberio said the protest’s permit was denied; however, police made no attempts to break up the event.
“I am a wife, a mother, an activist, an American citizen and a human being that does not want war to be governed over Twitter anymore,” Ceberio said. “Nor do I want one more troop sacrificed for this sick joke of imperial diplomacy.”
Several others came to speak following Ceberio, including Susan Steinberg, pastor at the United Church of Chapel Hill.
“Here tonight, we are gathered for a collective pause, a stop to say together, ‘No more,’” Steinberg said. “Peace, not war. We are more like the Iranian people than unlike them, and our differences cannot be resolved by war. War is not the answer. Peaceful resolution is.”
Members of the crowd shouted “no war with Iran” and “peace, not war” throughout parts of Steinberg’s speech.
“We are gathered together for peace with all those other gatherings around the land, with the Iranian people, with those troops and their families already deployed or worried about being deployed,” Steinberg said.
At around 6:45 p.m., the protesters marched toward the nearby North Carolina State Capitol, chanting “war is not the answer” and “this is what democracy looks like.” The group walked around the block and then back to Bicentennial Plaza, where several other protesters spoke.
Roger Ehrlich, a member of Veterans for Peace, spoke out against United States involvement in countries overseas and the military-industrial complex as a whole. Faisal Khan, founder of the Carolina Peace Center, said the United States is wrong to violate the sovereignty of countries like Iran through acts of aggression.
“[It is] time for every American, every human being in this country to be strong,” Khan said.
*Editor's note: The headline has been updated to accurately reflect the conflict between the United States and Iran.