Protests around the US following the airstrike in Baghdad

There are protests ongoing in more than 70 US cities this afternoon following the US strike that killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

Many of the demonstrations are sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition, which is an antiwar organization that was started after the 9/11 attacks.

In Washington, D.C., protesters filled much of Lafayette Park across from the White House to listen to a group of speakers pushing for the US to get out of the Mideast. This series of protests was planned before the Soleimani attack. Protesters held signs saying “Stop Bombing Iraq.”

Among the speakers in DC was actress Jane Fonda, who has been headlining weekly protests in DC pushing for action on climate change.

Here’s a look at the protest happening in DC today:

Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images
Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images
Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images
Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images
Earlier analysis had indicated USA will have a difficult time containing the situation and the below reports in the last under two hours are an indicator 

Rockets strike two other locations in Iraq

A number of rockets landed in the Baghdad neighborhood of Al-Jadiriya and outside Balad Air base without any human casualties, the Iraqi Army said in a statement.

The Iraqi army was unable to clarify how many rockets had been fired in each instance.

Balad Air Base houses US forces and is located 50 miles north of Baghdad.

A rocket impacted Baghdad’s Green Zone earlier today, the Iraqi Army also said in the statement. No fatalities were reported in this incident, according to the statement.

Separately, an Iraqi civilian contractor based at Balad Air Base told CNN four rockets impacted outside the base’s southern gate.

This eyewitness said the sirens at the base sounded sending people into shelters until the all clear signaled it was safe again.

It is not uncommon for rockets to be fired at the Green Zone or US position in Iraq. It is unclear who fired the rockets.

Rocket strikes Baghdad’s Green Zone

At least one rocket has impacted Baghdad’s Green Zone, an Iraqi security official told CNN, on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The Green Zone contains the parliament, ministries and foreign embassies, including that of the US. Some of the Green Zone is protected by barriers.

French president says escalation not inevitable after call with Iraqi president

Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images
Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron says escalation of tensions in the Middle East is not inevitable and calls on all with a presence in the region to respect Iraq’s sovereignty, the region’s stability and to focus on the fight against ISIS.

“The escalation of tensions in the Middle-East isn’t inevitable,” Macron tweeted on Saturday. “France has two priorities that I share with all leaders involved and that I’m in touch with: Iraq’s sovereignty and security, as well as the region’s stability; the fight against Daesh terrorism.”

“Nothing should distract us from these objectives,” he also said.

The French president’s tweet was posted after he held phone conversations with the Iraqi President Barham Salih and with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.

Macron “reiterated his commitment to the security and sovereignty of Iraq,” in his call with Saleh, according to a readout of the conversation issued by the French Presidency,

“The two presidents agreed to remain in close contact to avoid further escalation of tensions and to act for the stability of Iraq and the region as a whole,” the readout added.

In his conversation with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the French and the Emirati leader “shared their concern over the situation in Iraq and agreed to act together with all stakeholders to avoid a dangerous escalation of tensions in the region,” according to a readout from the call published by the Élysée.

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