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Minnesotans protest Trump’s threats on Iran

By Austin Dewey

Anne Keirstead leading chant

St. Paul, MN – Over 30 cars occupied the parking lot of Minnesota Senator Tina Smith, April 26, to call on her to denounce President Trump’s attacks and sanctions on Iran. Trump has escalated the threats against Iran by announcing on Twitter, April 22, that he told the Navy “to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.” Unlike Minnesota’s Representative Ilhan Omar, Senator Smith has remained silent while Trump again threatened Iran with further acts of war.

The safe-distance car protest was the first Twin Cities anti-war action during the coronavirus pandemic. It was organized by the MN Anti-War Committee and was also sponsored by Women Against Military Madness. Protesters put signs up in their cars reading “Fight COVID-19 not war,” and “Money for human needs not war,” while chanting and honking their horns.

Meredith Aby-Keirstead, a member of the Anti-War Committee, spoke to the crowd. She pointed out that this bellicose posture by Trump is in response to his complete failure to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic inside the U.S. Aby-Keirstead stated, “We cannot underestimate his threats as just another theatrical action by a failed administration, because he is the commander in chief of the military and has been advocating for the sanctions that have killed tens of thousands in Iran alone.”

Aby-Keirstead explained, “This threat of U.S. military action is in addition to the inhuman destruction of Iran's healthcare system by U.S. sanctions. The U.S. has cut off access to crucial medical supplies as Iran battles over 90,000 cases of COVID-19. We are here today to say no to U.S. military action and to acknowledge that U.S. sanctions are already waging a war on Iran.

“Trump’s threat of military action is out of step even with other imperialist countries. This month the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on the world to declare an immediate ceasefire and to instead battle COVID-19, which he called ‘the true fight of our lives.’”

Aby assured the crowd that the anti-war movement will not be silent as the U.S. threatens further military action and sanctions against Iran. The protest ended with the chant, “The people of Iran are under attack! What do we do? Stand up! Fight back!”

#SaintPaulMN #AntiwarMovement #PeoplesStruggles #Iran #TinaSmith