OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Hundreds of anti-war demonstrators gathered in the streets of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose Thursday to protest the threat of war with Iran.

Thursday evening, about 1,000 people packed four corners of an Oakland intersection outside the Grand Lake Theatre

Peace and human rights activist group CodePink said a planned 5 p.m. gathering at the intersection of Grand and Lake Park avenues began early as many showed up ahead of the scheduled time.

“It’s the biggest (crowd) I’ve ever seen on that corner,” CodePink member Susan Harman said, adding that she’s been to many protests there.

Harman, a 78-year-old Oakland resident, expressed personal concern about the possible destruction of world heritage artifacts. In college, her advisor was an expert in cuneiform tablets, pre-Biblical tablets that fit in the palm of the hand.

Harman said many people driving by the rally honked in support of the demonstrators, which included former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

“Most people here are more about the issue of peace and whether nor not the U.S. wants to get involved in another major war,” said Quan.

Oakland’s demonstration was just one of many scheduled for Thursday around the Bay Area, all of which were prompted initially by President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, who the president said was a terrorist.

The president’s decision was meant to deter a war not start a war, according to White House officials on Twitter.

But Iran on Tuesday fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two American military bases in Iraq, prompting concern that a war might start. No injuries or deaths were reported in the attack by Iran.

In addition to protests, the military action prompted the House of Representatives to vote Thursday to prevent the president from going to war with Iran.

“Today’s bipartisan 224-194 vote sends a strong message to President Trump that we will not tolerate dangerous foreign policy whims that cannot be justified as ‘imminent,’” Rep. Jackie Speier, D- San Francisco/San Mateo, said in a statement.

Additional protests were planned for San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Alameda, and among other places, the North Bay and South Bay.

About 25 people affiliated with various groups including the Raging Grannies, which says it promotes peace, justice and equality, rallied at Willow Road and state Highway 84 in Menlo Park.

The group held signs that said such things as “Jobs not War” and also sang peace songs.

“We’re fearful,” Raging Granny Ruth Robertson said.

She said today it looks as if both the U.S. and Iran are backing away from war, which makes her and others hopeful. But things can change in an instant, she said.

Robertson said she and others are “hopeful but still concerned.”

The demonstration, which was outside a Facebook office, was meant in part to give young people on “Google” buses something to think about.

In San Francisco Thursday evening, about 500 people called on lawmakers to avoid a war with Iran. The rally was organized by public policy advocates MoveOn and consisted of members of other groups such as CodePink and Extinction Rebellion, global environmental advocates.

Cynthia Papermaster, coordinator of the Golden Gate chapter of CodePink, said that in the speech she gave she urged people who want peace not to vote for political candidates in favor of war.

She thinks the president is putting the U.S. on the brink of nuclear war. Papermaster expressed concern for the preservation of cultural sites, which she said President Trump has threatened to bomb.

 

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