77彩票网appHouston anti-war demonstrators congregated to protest the possibility of another war in the Middle East on Sunday in the wake of an American air strike that killed a leading Iranian general.

Protesters began chanting shortly after 2 p.m. in front of a Starbucks at the intersection of Westheimer and Post Oak Boulevard, wielding signs that said “U.S. troops out of Iraq” and “Stop the War Now.”

“We have a right to stand against U.S. foreign policy because we are taxpayers,” said protester Syed Qamber Ali Zaidi as he waved a sign and waggled his fingers at his infant son in tow in the warm January sun.

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Cars honked in support as Zaidi and 50 other protesters at the corner chanted “no justice, no peace, U.S. out of the Middle East.”

“The U.S. government has killed millions of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other countries in south and southwest Asia in the past few decades,” said Dr. David Michael Smith, an organizer with the Houston Socialist Movement. “It is absolutely imperative to prevent another war.”

On Thursday, President Donald Trump ordered an air strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, an elite commander of Iran’s Quds Force, as he traveled in neighboring Iraq. Iranian officials and foreign policy experts say the targeted attack will drastically escalate tensions in the Middle East, with Thursday’s air strike marking the height of escalating tensions during the Trump administration.

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Sunday’s protests in Houston may have been dwarfed in size compared to rallies across the nation and internationally Saturday denouncing the U.S.’s targeted killing of Soleimani and the possibility of war with Iran. But the message from demonstrators in the Galleria echoed those worldwide.

“I would like to see hands off Iran,” said UT-Austin student Meghan Nguyen as she and fellow student Estefania Rodriguez joined the protest.

A second protest is planned for 3 p.m. at Discovery Green in downtown Houston.

77彩票网appgwendolyn.wu@chron.com