Hundreds protest potential Iran conflict at City Hall

Hadas Kuznits
January 04, 2020 - 4:05 pm
Protesters gathered at City Hall to oppose a potential war in Iran.

Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Hundreds took to the streets of Center City to oppose war in the Middle East, saying a costly, deadly conflict in Iran would do more harm than good.

The City Hall protest against a potential war in Iran was part of a National Day of Action that took place in over 70 cities across the country, in the wake of a U.S. strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a key Iranian military official. Organizer Walter Smolarek said the goal is to help bring troops home from the Middle East. "Thousands and thousands and thousands of people are expected to come out," he said, "including one major demonstration in front of the White House."

Angel Nalubega argued that the majority of Americans do not want this war. "It's a minority of the rich that want to fight this war," she exclaimed to supporters. "It's not us! It's not our teachers, our nurses, it's not the people off the street. It's rich people that want to fight this war."

Betsey Piette of Upper Darby tells me she's been attending war protests since Vietnam. "To portray this one individual Iranian as the enemy of the world somehow and ignore what the U.S. has done in Iran and Iraq and Afghanistan, Northern Africa and so many other countries is really ludicrous," she said, adding that these protests are non-partisan.

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"Increasingly you see that it doesn't matter whether it's the Democratic party or the Republican party," Piette asserted. "Presidents under both have started wars."

"The first war in Iraq I was out here saying, 'No blood for oil' just like I am now and then George W Bush started more wars and Obama expanded the wars and it's just time to stop.

For Amanda Rogers of Hatboro, protesting offered a sense of deja vu. "The first war in Iraq I was out here saying, 'No blood for oil' just like I am now," she recalled, "and then George W. Bush started more wars and Obama expanded the wars and it's just time to stop."

Smolarek summed up their argument saying a war in Iran would be a war on the poor.

"It's not the children of the politicians, it's not the Exxon Mobil executives who have to go fight and die and suffer life-changing wounds. It's the children of poor and working-class people who they send to fight for them," Smolarek said. "The people who sit comfortably directing the war, they don't suffer the effects of the war."