Indivisible Evanston protests Trump, military action in Middle East


Jacob Fulton/The Daily Northwestern

Protesters at the Thursday demonstration organized by Indivisible Evanston. Community members expressed their opposition to President Donald Trump’s recent military action in the Middle East.

Jacob Fulton, Assistant City Editor

Across the road from the Davis Street CTA station, members of the Evanston community protested President Donald Trump’s military actions in Iran on Thursday with chants including “No blood for oil, U.S. off Iranian soil” and “Hey hey, ho ho, these endless wars have got to go.”

Indivisible Evanston organized the protest in conjunction with Move On, a national organization dedicated to social activism and mobilization with local groups. The Evanston protest was one of over 300 protests across the country coordinated by Move On in response to the Jan. 3 military strike authorized by Trump that killed Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian military general.

Since then, national media and political figures have debated the potential impact of the strike, with some experts claiming the action could cause another war in the Middle East. On early Wednesday, Iran retaliated by firing missiles at two Iraqi bases where U.S. troops were stationed.

No lives were lost at either base, and Trump said the Iranian government has since indicated it intends to defuse the situation in a televised address on Wednesday. Indivisible Evanston co-leader Rosie Rees said she was hopeful about the turn of events, because it may indicate a shift in the situation.

“We probably already had an impact because yesterday his tune changed,” Rees said. “I was concerned that people might say, ‘Oh, well, now he’s talking about de-escalating’ and they wouldn’t show up but even after that, we got more sign-ups. People realize that we have to keep the pressure on him because he is so irrational and impetuous in his behavior.”

Many demonstrators viewed the transition toward de-escalation as a step in the right direction, but felt it was still important to attend the event. Prior to the protest, Rees estimated a turnout of 80 residents.

Steve Cohen, an Evanston resident, said he felt compelled to attend the protest due to his strong opposition to any conflict in the Middle East.

“It’s absolute insanity to even be thinking about going to war with Iran,” Cohen said. “The United States shouldn’t be going around assassinating leaders of other countries. It’s nonsense. That’s how World War I started.”

In the week since the strike, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) has publicly criticized the attack. However, Evanston resident Amy Sheffield said it is essential for constituents to voice their own opinions as well.

Sheffield said the protests are an important way for people who disagree with Trump’s actions to ensure their voices are heard.

“The United States population needs to know that they are not alone in opposition to war, opposition to Trump and opposition to our continued presence in the Middle East,” Sheffield said. “We are shedding blood for dead dinosaurs.”

Rees said she hopes the national protests will continue to send a clear message to the current administration, and force them to reconsider their actions.

“You connect all the dots and all of a sudden you have a big picture,” Rees said. “It’s important for each individual, local, municipality to stand up, because when we all do it together, we have a very loud voice.”

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Twitter: @jacobnfulton1

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