Demonstrators Gather in Pershing Square Calling for U.S. Pullout in Middle East

Organizations are calling for no war on Iran, an end to economic sanctions on Iraq and an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.

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Anti-war activists and their supporters staged a demonstration in downtown Los Angeles Saturday to voice their opposition to war against Iran, following Thursday's U.S. killing of a top Iranian military official in Baghdad, Iraq.

The ANSWER Coalition, Code Pink and Veterans for Peace organized the 1 p.m. rally at Pershing Square, calling for no war on Iran, an end to economic sanctions on Iraq and an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region.

At least 200 people gathered to hear speakers, then marched to the Roybal Federal Building to continue the rally, organizer John Prysner said.

They carried signs, including one that read "No War on Iran" and a banner that said "Trump: the People Say No War on Iran."

Los Angeles Police Department officers monitored the situation and there were no arrests reported as of 3:15 p.m., Officer Mike Lopez said.

Meanwhile, insisting there is no known credible threat to the Southland, Los Angeles police and the county sheriff's department are both closely monitoring developments in the Middle East following Thursday's air strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian military commander.

"Nearly every nationality in the world can be found in the county of Los Angeles," Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a statement Friday. "Keeping all residents and visitors safe is always a top priority. We at Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department are aware of the unfolding events in the Middle East.


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"At this time, there are no specific credible threats to the Los Angeles area," he said. "Our sheriff's Intelligence Unit is working with our local, state and federal partners to monitor and investigate any potential threats should they arise."

Villanueva's comments echo a statement issued Thursday night by the Los Angeles Police Department, which said, ``While there is no credible threat to Los Angeles, the LAPD is monitoring the events developing in Iran."

"We will continue to communicate with state, local, federal and international law enforcement partners regarding any significant intel that may develop," according to the LAPD. "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."

The Long Beach Police Department, in a Twitter post Friday afternoon, said that while ``there is no current connection to Long Beach, we will continue to provide increased patrols and visibility throughout the city for the duration of the weekend, and will continue to monitor the developing situation."

On Thursday, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed in a U.S. Pentagon-launched air raid OK'd by President Donald Trump. The deputy head of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an Iran-backed paramilitary force, was also killed.

Trump said Soleimani was planning "imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel." Iran's leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed to avenge Soleimani's death.

Early Friday, the United States urged all U.S. citizens to leave Iraq immediately.

"Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, we urge U.S. citizens to depart Iraq immediately. Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all consular operations are suspended. U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy,'' according to the U.S. State Department.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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