Dressed in heavy coats and jackets, about 20 protesters stood in a circle, looking at the speaker and trying to keep the blood flowing to their extremities. Shouts of “No justice, no peace, no U.S. in the Middle East” rang across the square, prompting bewildered looks and wary gazes from those outside the circle of protesters.
IU student group Young Democratic Socialists of America organized a rally Saturday at People's Park protesting the ongoing U.S.-Iran tensions. Members from Students for Peace in the Middle East were also present.
Protesters discussed how Iran's history contributed to its current situation.
“Memories in the U.S. are short,” rally organizer Jessy Tang said in a speech. “We have a responsibility here, today, to remember the history."
YDSA protest organizer Timothy Clark said he believes the United States is already at war with Iran through economic sanctions.
Clark said one telling difference between the current conflict and the Iraq War is the levels of evidence needed to prompt U.S. action. He said former President George W. Bush felt the need to fabricate evidence and weave lies about weapons of mass destruction, but the current administration just needed statements from high-ranking officials about an eminent attack to justify the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
Linda Stewart, 57, railed against Republicans and Democrats during the rally, calling both parties “bullshit,” and saying neither are good options for voters. She said she hopes Soleimani's death does not lead to another war. She said war is senseless.
“I am for humanity,” Stewart said in a speech.
American citizens also become pawns to be used by governments, Hamish Munro said in a speech at the rally. The U.S. military is seen by many as the only way to pay for college or get a livable wage, and he said it exists as a way to funnel bodies to the frontlines in order to fight for corporate interest.
Both countries are using the conflict to draw attention away from domestic failings, Clark said. The Iranian government uses the conflict as a distraction from Iranian protesters against their government, and the Trump administration uses it to stoke nationalist sentiments through conflict in the Middle East.
“What gets lost in this conflict is the rights, the dignity and the humanity of regular people,” Clark said.