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Amid rising tensions with Iran, hundreds rally against war in downtown L.A.

Anti-war protest in downtown L.A.
Hundreds of people march up Broadway during an anti-war protest Saturday.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

An anti-war march and demonstration was held Saturday in downtown Los Angeles calling on the U.S. not to go to war with Iran and to pull troops out of the Middle East.

The demonstration held in Pershing Square came in response to the recent U.S. killing of a top Iranian commander in Baghdad, which has increased tensions between the United States and Iran. At least 200 people held up signs such as “No War or sanctions on Iran...” and “U.S. out of Iraq.”

Protesters also marched through downtown Los Angeles, chanting “No more war.”

The demonstration was just one of many held around the world Saturday as part of an anti-war movement. In Los Angeles, the event was put together by the ANSWER Coalition, Code Pink and Veterans for Peace.

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“For all who believe in peace, for all who are opposed to yet another catastrophic war, now is the time to take action,” a statement from the coalition read.

No arrests were reported by the Los Angeles Police Department, one of many law enforcement agencies that have been on alert since the killing of Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. Iran vowed revenge for Suleimani’s death.

“While there is no credible threat to Los Angeles, LAPD...will continue to communicate with state, local, federal and international law enforcement partners regarding any significant intel that may develop,” the department said on Twitter. “This Department is committed to ensuring the safety of our vibrant and diverse community, and we ask every Angeleno to say something if you see something.”

Protest
Kathleen Schwartz and her umbrella join the protest.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Suleimani was killed in a U.S. airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport Friday. The deputy head of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, an Iran-backed paramilitary force, was also killed.

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The Pentagon said that Suleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” But the specific targets were unclear and officials declined to describe the evidence that backed up their assessment.

“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” according to a statement by the Department of Defense.


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