EUGENE, Ore. -- A rally in downtown Eugene Thursday afternoon called for peace in the wake of the U.S killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
Dozens of participants carried signs and chanted, listening to speakers including state Sen. James Manning, who represents parts of Lane County. Local groups including 350 Eugene, Extinction Rebellion and others organized the event.
Organizer Susan Cundiff said participants were calling for the U.S. to stand down in Iran. Though international developments may not lead to an armed conflict, some fear the region could already be destabilized with years of work on nuclear disarmament lost.
"The damage to that treaty has already been done by us walking away from it. It's hard to say about the damage of this action, and I certainly hope that both sides are backing off," said Cundiff.
Manning agrees that President Donald Trump's approach to the situation has been tenuous, even as it appears he is moving the U.S towards de-escalation.
"The war against terror is ongoing. That's a part of the mission. But there's no exit plan. You can't just start wars without an exit plan," he said.
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Not all in attendance supported the anti-war message. Michael Davis interrupted Manning's speech with a question.
"They didn't talk about peace. They talked about war. And I asked them, 'Where is the war?' We killed a terrorist," Davis said.
Some emphasized the humanitarian risks of war. Paul Barker went to Iran as a part of the Peace Corps in the 1970s. He's visited several times in the years since and said he's seen fragile progress in the region. It's the kindness of the people there that has stuck with him.
"What is the same is the very high level of warmth and kindness especially towards Americans. This somewhat surprised me," he said. "I was anxious going back last year under the Trump administration that things have changed as far as Iranian's attitudes towards Americans. And no, extremely welcoming."