NEW YORK — Thousands of protesters packed into Times Square Wednesday evening to demand that Congress vote down the proposed U.S. deal with Iran.
As the crowd loomed behind police barricades, chants of "Kill the deal!" could be heard for blocks. The event, billed as the "Stop Iran Rally" consisted mainly of pro-Israel supporters, though organizers said it represents Americans of all faiths and political convictions.
The group is asking Congress to reject the deal under which the U.S. would agree to lift economic sanctions against Iran in return for measures to prevent the country from building nuclear weapons.
President Barack Obama has said the U.S. considers Iran an adversary whose activities will be closely monitored.
At the rally, Alan Dershowitz, a prominent Jewish attorney, said he was "opposing the deal as a liberal Democrat." He said he believed democracy was "ignored" because the Obama administration negotiated the deal without congressional input.
"That is not the way democracy should operate," he told the crowd.
In a statement Wednesday, Rep. Peter King, a former chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said he attended a classified briefing with Secretary of State John Kerry and "is still convinced that this is a bad deal for America."
"It was entirely wrong and arrogant for the Obama administration to submit the deal to the U.N. before Congress voted on it," he said. "It is definitely my intention to vote no on this deal with Iran."
Desiree Soper of Long Island said she was drawn to the protest because she wanted to voice her opposition.
"I don't trust Iran," she said. "They'll find loopholes."
Demonstrators also took note that U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer did not attend the protest, prompting chants of "Where is Chuck?" from the crowd.
Schumer was in Washington Wednesday evening. He said in a statement that he has read the agreement and is waiting to speak with experts from both sides before deciding how to vote on the proposal.
Organizers estimated about 10,000 people attended the event.