Dozens of Tulsans joined a national movement Saturday to call for diplomacy and to de-escalate tensions that were inflamed when a U.S. drone killed an Iranian general this week.

About 60 people crowded the northeast corner of 41st Street and Yale Avenue, holding anti-war signs and chanting. The gathering was part of a larger effort spearheaded by various nongovernmental organizations.

“We’ve been promised the troops are coming home for, it feels like decades now, and sending more troops over there because of a political battle is really unjust,” Emily Vickers, a local organizer, said. “People are going to die. There’s no resolution that can come from war.”

The protesters made signs that bore statements such as “No War!”, “No war But Class War” and “War Only Ends Lives.” Vickers led people in chants with a bullhorn. Participants proclaimed they wanted peace in Iran.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump authorized an attack against Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force. The attack drastically inflamed tensions between the two nations.

During Saturday’s protest, cars honked in support as they drove through the midtown intersection. Some people, far fewer than those who honked in support, jeered the protesters.

Terry Luce, a retired psychology professor, said he saw the “devastation produced by war” when he served in 1954 in the Korean conflict. He said he was never certain, despite extensive study, why he was in the demilitarized zone.

“I would feel equally confused had I served more recently in the numerous wars that we have generated, fabricated ... ” Luce said. “It is frightening to observe yet another incipient war, one of the many that I have observed in my life time.”

The site of Saturday’s protest was a site commonly used in the early 2000s to protest the U.S. military incursion into Iraq.

“Something has got to be done,” Luce said. “My sense is the only way that we can interrupt our continuing warfare is to take to the streets.”

U.S. officials alleged Soleimani had killed and wounded Americans throughout the years and was planning a campaign of violence against the U.S.

U.S.-Iranian relations have careened from one crisis to another since Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed crippling sanctions, the Associated Press reported.

The targeted strike against Soleimani and any retaliation by Iran could ignite a conflict that engulfs the whole region, endangering U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria and beyond. Over the last two decades, Soleimani had assembled a network of heavily armed allies stretching all the way to southern Lebanon, on Israel’s doorstep.

About 3,000 troops were deployed to the Middle East following the assassination, reflecting concern about potential Iranian retaliation. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed “harsh retaliation” after the airstrike, calling Soleimani the “international face of resistance,” the AP reported.


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Harrison Grimwood

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