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Ft. Myers Demonstrators Join Nationwide Anti-War Protests

John Davis, WGCU
#NoWarWithIran demonstrators along Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd in downtown Fort Myers Jan. 09.

About 30 people marched through downtown Fort Myers, Thursday evening, chanting and holding signs advocating for peace with Iran.  The event was one of hundreds of “No War with Iran” demonstrations organized throughout the country.

The protest marches are in response to escalated tensions between the U.S. and Iran sparked by last week’s U.S. drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iranian top General Qassem Soleimani and Iran’s retaliatory missile attack on military bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops.

Fort Myers native John Murray organized the Fort Myers protest.  Murray said he’s relieved by President Donald Trump’s comments, Wednesday, that seemed to indicate the president seeks a de-escalation, but said the situation is too volatile to sit back and do nothing.

“I immediately thought, ‘Trump is not equipped for this.  He’s going to make the wrong decisions.’  So, I was immediately afraid,” said Murray. 

“Thank goodness I think he’s listened to a majority of advisors telling him that he shouldn’t be escalating it any further, but at the same time we’re out here protesting the very mere possibility that it even happens.”

Fort Myers resident Lynda Ryberg said her motivation for demonstrating goes beyond the immediate international tensions and concerns the laws governing presidential decisions about the use of force. “It’s bigger than this.  It is about democracy.  It is about our country,” said Ryberg.

“It is about a president who thinks he can just do whatever he wants, and has total power and is a king. We can’t let that happen. What happens after that? Regardless of whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican, political parties are not about this.”

The Fort Myers event was part of a network of similar protests throughout the U.S. including demonstrations in 20 cities throughout Florida.