This past week, President Donald Trump majorly escalated tension with Iran with an abrupt airstrike that killed the leader of their military’s Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, who’d been very high-ranking politically within the country. Now, more than 70 protests have been planned for this weekend across the country in response to that abrupt escalation of violence and the deployment of thousands more troops that the Trump administration has gotten underway. The demonstrations are the work of Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), and they’re unfolding at very high-profile locations like outside the White House, in Times Square, and outside Trump Tower in Chicago.
Facebook event pages suggest that hundreds of people may be attending individual demonstrations. The organizing coalition insisted on its website:
‘The targeted assassination and murder of a central leader of Iran is designed to initiate a new war. 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.’
Following Soleimani’s assassination, surviving Iranian leaders have already pledged revenge against the United States, which his direct replacement as Quds Force leader said will include American deaths in the Middle East. American interests, including U.S. personnel, are scattered across the region, making numerous potential targets for a further escalation of violence — and putting large numbers of more locals in harm’s way.
The president’s team has claimed that Soleimani’s assassination was necessary to thwart soon incoming attacks against U.S. interests, but that exact threat is heightened following the incident. Although Trump is very attuned to his public image and may be annoyed by protests, he’s shown no sign of faltering in his decision making in favor of violence.