Hundreds of Chaldeans came out Tuesday night in El Cajon, California in an organized demonstration advocating for the United Nations, United States, and other countries to intervene in Iraq over actions of the terrorist group ISIS.
Part of the evening’s events included a “Peace Walk” that ended at El Cajon’s Centennial Plaza, where speakers took the stage to address the crowd. Two of those involved spoke with Breitbart News after the event concluded.
One of the protest organizers, Stephen Nissou, a youth worker at St. Peter’s Chaldean Catholic Diocese, discussed issues surrounding Iraq in a video interview with Breitbart. He spoke of violence against Iraqi minorities and what responses he advocates. Nissou advocated for the possibility of Iraqi elections, the UN and U.S. intervening in Iraq, returning Iraqis to their homes, as well as asylum. Watch video of his interview here:
San Diego County hosts a large number of residents who have come under refugee status. The County of San Diego Refugee Employment Services Plan reports, “Most of the more recent refugees arriving in the county are from Iraq and are settling in the city of El Cajon, located in San Diego’s East County, where there is an established Iraqi community.”
Mark Arabo, President and CEO of the Neighborhood Market Association, participated in and spoke at Tuesday’s event. In an interview with Breitbart News, he refers to his belief that the cause for the conflict in Iraq today stems from 2003 actions of the U.S. in Iraq. He goes on to describe his solution to the conflict in the second portion of the interview:
Arabo spoke previously with KPBS regarding his perspective on past U.S. actions in Iraq. He went on to give KPBS his evaluation on what role the U.S. should play saying, “I hope that the United States leads from behind with like-minded nations to make sure that these Christians and minorities all throughout the Middle East region, and specifically Iraq, have a mass exodus and a home to go to.”
The KPBS article referenced that “nearly 80,000 Iraqis call San Diego home; the majority of which are Chaldean Christians, but many others are Muslim and Kurdish.”
Democrat former California State Senator and Assemblyman Wadie P. Deddeh, one of the many Chaldeans living in San Diego, also showed up to participate in the rally. Deddeh was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1920. He served eight terms in the California Assembly and three terms in the Senate, starting in 1966.
Pictured above is a cutout of the state of Iraq with what appeared to be the ISIS flag staked in it, on a stretcher being wheeled away after the protest had ended. It had been used in the evening’s demonstration.