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US Port Workers Strike in Anti-War Protest


Workers at ports on the west coast of the United States staged a one-day strike Thursday to call for an end to the war in Iraq, five years after President George Bush stood underneath a banner that declared "Mission Accomplished."

On May 1, 2003, the president visited a U.S. aircraft carriers the USS Abraham Lincoln to declare an end to major combat operations in Iraq and call it a victory in the war on terrorism.

West coast dockworkers marked the anniversary with a brief strike that halted loading and unloading of ships from southern California to Washington state. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said at least 10 thousand workers stayed home.

The White House says the "Mission Accomplished" phrase referred to the aircraft carrier's completion of its 10-month mission at sea, not the military completing its mission in Iraq.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Thursday the Bush Administration is looking forward to helping the Iraqi government take greater responsibility for its own security.

Fratto also said President Bush is ignoring a new poll that shows the president's approval rating has dropped to just 27 percent. The poll indicates 73 percent of voters believe the country is on the wrong track.

The poll was conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC news between April 28 to April 28.

Democrats have repeatedly criticized the president for his Iraq policy and the mounting casualties there. The war is a major issue in the presidential campaign.

On Wednesday, a White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, told reporters that President Bush is well aware that the "Mission Accomplished" banner should have been more specific.

Since the war started, more than 4,000 members of the U.S. military have been killed, along with thousands of Iraqi civilians.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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