Hundreds of protestors march with anti-war movements against U.S. role in the Middle East

Michael Bresnahan, member of Refuse Fascism, joined the protests held outside the Massachusetts State House on Saturday, Jan. 5.

By Anna Stjernquist
BU News Service

BOSTON — “No threats, no bombs, no war with Iran,” anti-war protestors chanted as they marched from the Massachusetts State House toward the streets surrounding Boston Common on Saturday.

According to organizers, around 500 demonstrators gathered outside the Massachusetts State House at 2 p.m. to protest the U.S. going to war with Iran and troops in the Middle East.

The State House protests are part of global uprisings in 19 countries and 117 cities, according to organizers, and the second mass action following escalating political turmoil that worsened after a U.S. airstrike attack killed Iranian military commander, Qasem Soleimani, on Jan. 3.

On Jan. 4, thousands of protesters, endorsed by several anti-war organizations, gathered in cities across the U.S. to condemn the drone strike in Baghdad. Demonstrations in more than 80 communities were planned.

The Answer Coalition, a national anti-war organization, is hosting global protests to bring attention to the rising conflict between the U.S. and Iran and its potential impact across the world.

Anti-war demonstrators marched down Tremont Street on Saturday, Jan. 5.

Similar protests have broken out internationally. On Friday, a national demonstration, called for by a Shia cleric and Iran-backed groups, drew together hundreds of thousands of people in Baghdad to march against U.S. military presence.

Nino Brown, a local organizer at the Answer Coalition, said a major difference between this protest and the first round of protests is that they want to bring more voices to the conversation. 

“We have made it an intentional and deliberate task to bring organizations that are not typically in the anti-war conversation,” Brown said.

He also mentioned an invitation asking Puerto Rico Me Llama, a Puerto Rican nonprofit focusing on the freedom and sovereignty of Puerto Rico, to co-host the protests.

A spokesperson for Puerto Rico Me Llama said they were unable to attend, but they endorse the protests. 

“We acknowledge that U.S. imperialism is not only a common enemy of Puerto Rico and the international community but also the enemy of Americans at home who desire peace and prosperity,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Michael Bresnahan, a protestor and member of Refuse Fascism, said he’s been trying to change the world through political activism his whole life. 

“This changes nothing,” Bresnahan said. “We live in dangerous times, and I’m hoping people will wake up to the dangerous times and react to it.” 

Brown explained that The Answer Coalition first formed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 in anticipation of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East.

Now, the ultimate goal of the protests is to build an anti-war movement.

“It’s easier said than done, but an anti-war movement can only be built by people: People who see themselves as activists and organizers and people who see themselves as affected by war,” Brown said. “The goal of the protest is really to raise awareness, to consolidate our forces and to consolidate our supporters.”

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