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Anti-War Rally Brings Hundreds To Downtown Portland

<p>Hundreds gather in Terry Schrunk Plaza in downtown Portland, Ore., to protest war in Iran, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The anti-war rally was a response to the U.S. assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassim Suleimani.</p>
<p>Hundreds gather in Terry Schrunk Plaza in downtown Portland, Ore., to protest war in Iran, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The anti-war rally was a response to the U.S. assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassim Suleimani.</p>

An anti-war rally brought more than 200 people to downtown Portland Friday evening.

The No War on Iran rally, organized by Portland’s chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), was a reaction to President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iranian general Qassim Suleimani.

“We need to stand up against this, just like people were in the streets protesting the invasion of Iraq in 2003,” said Olivia Katbi Smith, co-chair of Portland’s DSA. “We need to show that same solidarity to show that we are against war and that we stand in solidarity with the people of Iran and Iraq because they’re the ones that are going to bear the brunt of this.”

The DSA organized the rally after seeing the economic impacts of Suleimani’s death, specifically in certain stocks rising such as defense technology companies, she said.

“As soon as the general was assassinated last night, we saw Raytheon and Northrop Grumman stocks go up. Oil is at an eight-month high. Police are clamping down in Los Angeles and New York, warning about terrorist threats,” Katbi Smith said.

“It’s the same story every single time,” she said. “This is not about freedom or democracy or protecting people — it is about money and power.”

Rallygoers filled Terry Schrunk plaza, urging the president and his administration to pull U.S. troops out of the Middle East.

Other members of the DSA and other community groups spoke against violent escalation in the Middle East.

“The United States has committed an illegal act of war on Iran by assassinating general Qassim Suleimani in Iraq, clearly a first step in launching a disastrous war,” said Sahar Yarjani Muranovic, executive director of the Oregon chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Muranovic was born in Tehran and said her parents currently live there. Also a member of the Portland DSA, she reiterated the capitalist implications of war.

“This is not about spreading democracy. This is not about liberating a people or standing up for human rights,” she said. “This is about further destabilizing a resource-rich region for money and power.”

Portland’s rally is one of many scheduled throughout the nation, including one at the White House Saturday.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting