Tempers flared during a demonstration by mostly Iranian Canadians in downtown Montreal Sunday.
Demonstrators said the recent U.S. killing of senior Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Iraq was Illegal.
“Because this was a blatant violation of international norms, to kill somebody on a third country’s soil,” explained Nassim Noroozi, an anti-war activist who was invited to speak at the event.
Other protesters like Amir Naimi fear there could be an escalation.
“The looming possibility of war, all-out war, between the United States and Iran is something that people in the region do not need,” he told Global News at Phillips Square, where the protest began before activists marched to the U.S. Consulate at Ste-Catherine and Stanley streets.
But during the otherwise peaceful gathering, tensions rose when counter-protesters showed up to voice a different view.
They support Soleimani’s killing by repeating the U.S.’s claim that it was done to prevent something worse from happening.
“He was preparing for a bigger attack — a huge attack — and the Americans stopped him,” said Jacob, a counter-protester who declined to give his last name.
Naimi doesn’t believe the assertion.
“I’d be glad to see documents or facts to support such a claim,” he said.
Since the killing, tensions have risen between the two countries.
On Sunday, the Iranian government called U.S. President Donald Trump a terrorist in a suit. Previously, Trump tweeted a threat to target 52 Iranian sites if Tehran retaliates.
At the Montreal anti-war rally, protesters say the two sides must start talking, but Naimi admitted that it might be difficult.
“However,” he suggested, “European Union — third party intervention may work very well in this conflict resolution.”