Hoisting wooden peace signs and posters reading “Make love not war,” a group of protesters gathered Wednesday night at the Monroe County Courthouse to protest conflict between the United States and Iran.
The Bloomington Against War protest began at 6 p.m. Those against a war between the United States and Iran were encouraged to attend and voice their disapproval.
Planning for the protest began last week. Jack Parke, President of College Democrats at IU, said recent news coverage of the escalating conflict led College Democrats at IU to rush planning.
"The goal of the protest is to talk about the issues of American militarization and also to lend our voices to say we will not support another disastrous war," Parke said.
Parke said this conflict reminds him of 2002 and the Iraq War. He said it is a mistake to begin another war because the US is still in debt from the Iraq War.
The U.S. and Iran signed a deal in 2015 along with France, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and Germany that would stop the manufacturing of Iranian nuclear weapons until 2031, according to the BBC. President Donald Trump left the deal in May of 2018, disrupting the relationship between the U.S. and Iran.
Rob Stewart Ingersoll, who has lived and worked in the Middle East, spoke at today's protest.
"They are like you and me," Ingersoll said. "And each time that we send our military into their region in order to create stability, it is their real lives and webs of connections that are destroyed."
Ingersoll said he believes other Middle Eastern governments such as Saudi Arabia and Israel desire a conflict between Iran and the U.S. since Iran is the main major Persian and Shiite power in the region.
"We have an explosive situation," said Ingersoll.
Alice Leake, 90, protested. She said she has opposed war all of her life. Leake's parents worked as missionaries in the Middle East during World War II. She said as a child she believed she could place an American flag on her roof to say safe from bombers.
"We have been lucky enough with the exception of 9/11 to not be bombed on our own territory," Leake said. "We think war is something that happens over there."
She said the deaths of innocent people she saw as a child still upset her today.
Leake, a former preschool teacher, compared the U.S. and Iran conflict to two children bickering over who hit the other first.
Parke and Leake both said they would like to see the original nuclear deal reinstated.
“It wasn't perfect, but it is much better than the alternative," Parke said.
Editor’s note: Bryce Greene, one of the event’s planners, has worked for the Indiana Daily Student.
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