As part of more than 72 anti-war demonstrations on Jan. 4, hundreds of protesters for peace came out in the Pacific Northwest despite high winds and chilling rain. They rallied, vigiled and marched against the attempt by the Trump administration to launch a war on Iran and to demand U.S. troops out of Iraq.
In Seattle, at least 400 people gathered at Victor Steinbrueck Park near iconic Pike Place Market. Initiated by ANSWER Seattle, hosting organizations included Veterans for Peace #92 and the Seattle Anti-War Coalition. In just a few days, numerous organizations and individuals went all out to mobilize for this demonstration.
Speakers included representatives of ANSWER, VFP, SDSA, SAWC, Socialist Alternative, the National Iranian American Council, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Seattle 350, Earthcare not Warfare and Anakbayan.
Maddie Handhardt of SDSA electrified the crowd as she called on active duty soldiers to refuse orders to the Middle East. Phoenix Johnson, VfP #92 president, called out the U.S. history of genocide and vowed that veterans would use their status as the “golden children” of the United States to fight for peace.
Nilofar Ganajaie of the National Iranian American Council thanked the crowd for their solidarity and conveyed the human impact of U.S. sanctions and war on Iranians and Iranian Americans. Jane Cutter of the PSL shared historical context of the colonial role of the United States in the Middle East.In between speakers, MC Erica Salazar of Seattle ANSWER led chants.
Media covering the rally included KOMO-TV, KIRO-TV, Q-13, Seattle Times and the New York Times.
In Spokane, the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane had a mid-day protest of about 100 people, covering all four corners of an intersection. Other organizations participaing included Veterans for Peace, DSA and the Wobblies. Activist Michael Davis told Liberation News, “There were lots of good reactions” from passersby.
In Kennewick, Wa. more than a dozen people stood at a busy intersection near the mall, chanting and holding signs. The protest was hosted by ANSWER affiliated organizers in the Tri-Cities area. Activists of all ages came from Yakima and the Tri-Cities area to participate.
Organizer Mitch Malloy told Liberation News: “Overall reception was very warm. We handed out flyers to passing cars and to passing pedestrians. Lots of positive reactions from cars, people rolling down their windows to thank us.”
Local media covered the action.
In Boise, Idaho, some 100 people participated in a speak out and march that started at Boise City Hall, organized by ANSWER Coalition.
“I think that what we’re starting to see is that the checks and balances so lauded by supporters of the U.S. government is starting to crumble under U.S. hegemony across the world. We’re seeing the U.S. empire lashing out,” said Michelle Doty, of the ANSWER Coalition.
“This is an act of war. It’s the assassination of one of the leading military leadership of Iran, a nation that has received the brunt of American sanctions and the threat of war for decades now,” she said.
The protesters were briefly confronted by extreme rightwing counterprotesters.
The protesters then marched from City Hall to the Idaho State Capitol where the crowd continued chanting. Doty told the marchers that the enemies are not the people of the Middle East, rather “enemies are capitalists here.”
The demonstration was reported on by the Idaho Press.