A crowd of around 60 people marched from Harvey Milk Promenade Park to the Armed Services Career Center on Sunday to protest U.S. involvement in the Middle East after the assassination of an Iranian general in Iraq.
“We demand justice, we demand peace, U.S. out of Middle East,” the crowd chanted.
Members of the Long Beach chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, Long Beach Anarchist Collective and People’s Revolutionary Party Long Beach decided to host the event in response to the assassination of Gen. Qassem Suleimani on Jan. 3.
“This isn’t about Trump,” said Yousef Baker, a professor of international studies at Long Beach State. “People want to talk about Trump as crazy, erratic, spontaneous, but really Trump is the personification of American policy that has been creating a system of chaos by destabilization the region year after year.”
As people spoke to the crowd, some of the vehicles driving near the plaza honked their horns in support of the protesters who held signs that read, “No War With Iran,” “No War but Class War,” and “End Endless Wars.”
Not all passersby were supportive, though. Some drivers held down their horns or yelled out in support of the president in an attempt to drown out the protesters.
Local musician George McCalip was among the protestors and performed his song “Young Men in Caskets” on his ukelele.
“I made the song four years ago for a ‘peace song’ contest,” he said. “I do protest songs anyway, I figured I might as well perform it here. It’s the perfect venue.”
After the speakers addressed the crowd, Emiliano Carrillo of the Long Beach Democratic Socialists of America led the protesters on a march to the Armed Services Career Center in Downtown Long Beach. Once the protesters arrived at the location they chanted, “Occupation is a crime, from Iraq to Palestine.”
“It’s the least that you can do when you see injustice happening,” Baker said. “You have to stand up, if you can’t intervene and change it, you at least have to voice your dissent.”