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Protesters take to Dartmouth Green to oppose US actions against Iran

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/12/2020 10:16:02 PM
Modified: 1/15/2020 4:55:55 PM

HANOVER — With signs reading “End US Imperialism” and “Books not Bullets,” a crowd of about 50 Dartmouth College students and Upper Valley residents converged on the Dartmouth Green on Sunday to protest the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran.

The energy was high as several community members gave speeches and led chants for over an hour.

Kale Camara, a Dartmouth junior who represents Rise! Upper Valley and introduced each of the speakers, was surprised by the turnout.

“Given that it’s so cold, I’m impressed that that many people came out and stayed so long,” Camara said.

Ashley Andreas, of White River Junction, was among the attendees.

“I came out today because I’ve been following the local organizers in the Upper Valley who have been showing up and taking a stance against violence, so I came out because there is a lot of power in people demonstrating publicly,” Andreas said.

Organizer Asma Elhuni, a Hartford resident, emphasized community at the event.

“It’s important that we continuously send this message of anti-imperialism and anti-war,” Elhuni said.

Camara and Elhuni began the event by leading chants of “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, the Iran War has got to go.”

Upper Valley resident and former Dartmouth student El Gonzalez then read a message submitted from an anonymous Middle Eastern woman.

“It is the innocent civilians on the other side who are going to lose everything,” Gonzalez read. “Whether we like it or not, our fate often lies in (America’s) hands. It brings me peace knowing there are people like you who are not willing to accept this.”

About 10 speakers delivered remarks on various topics relating to American foreign policy.

Griffin Shumway, a representative of the Vermont Workers’ Center, decried the military contractors who profit from war.

Dartmouth senior Iliana Godoy focused on the effects of war on American service people.

She said the government is too happy to send people off to war while “shortchanging service members and veterans coming home.”

Laura Simon, a representative of the local chapter of Extinction Rebellion, taught the group an anti-war folk song she had written and discussed the ways in which war increases greenhouse gas emissions and creates strains on resources.

Dartmouth senior Esther Oluokon said she attended the event to become more informed.

“Mainly what brought me out here was I wanted to learn more about what was going on in Iran,” Oluokon said. “It was really eye-opening to hear Asma talk about Iran.”

As the event wound down, the organizers led a moment of silence and a collective breathing exercise. With the exception of one man railing against abortion and telling people he was running for president, there were no noticeable disruptions.

After the event, Camara was optimistic about affecting change.

“I feel like there were people who weren’t as engaged (before) who are a lot more engaged now,” Camara said.

Rohan Chakravarty can be reached at  rchakravarty@ vnews.com.

Correction

An earlier version of this stor y mispelled Griffin Shumway’s last name.




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