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Thousands Protest In 11 US Cities Against Iraq War


Peace activists demonstrated in at least 11 cities across the United States Saturday to mark the fifth anniversary of the vote by the U.S. Senate approving the Iraq war. As Amy Bickers reports from the northwestern city of Seattle, the message was the same everywhere - end the war and bring the troops home.

Tens of thousands of anti-war activists protested across America Saturday calling for a swift finish to the war in Iraq and demanding a cut-off of U.S. congressional funding.

The anti-war demonstrations took place in several major cities, including New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle. In Boston, protester Myra Wilson said she felt positive about the impact of the rallies.

"I feel empowered," said Wilson. "I feel like we have a very large support for our troops to be home and this war to end. It is unnecessary."

In Seattle, protester Duncan Bond expressed frustration at the government's handling of the war.

"I think people are getting to the point where they have just had enough. They've had enough of what the [Bush] administration is doing," said Bond. "They've had enough of Democrats not doing anything to stop things. And people are very frustrated and they are glad to get out here."

Protesters across the United States marched through downtown streets, holding anti-war signs and chanting. The demonstrations brought together young and old, including grade school children, senior citizens and labor union activists.

In New York, thousands marched down Broadway in rainy weather, including one man carrying cardboard peace doves. Others dressed as prisoners, wearing bright orange outfits reminiscent of Guantanamo Bay inmates and pushing a person in a cage.

In San Francisco, news reports said more than 10,000 people took part. Protesters along Market Street dropped to the ground to honor the thousands of American troops and Iraqi citizens who have died since the war started in March 2003.

In some cities, small counter-demonstrations by war supporters were also held.

The protests come on the fifth anniversary of the vote by the U.S. Senate authorizing the Iraq invasion.

Some protesters also expressed fears about nuclear weapons and what some consider the growing possibility of U.S. military intervention in Iran over its nuclear program.

While most of the peace rallies took place in major urban areas, activists also marched in Jonesborough, Tennessee, the location of a company that is the largest producer of weapons that use depleted uranium.

Saturday's so-called "National Day of Action" was organized by a coalition of groups called United for Peace and Justice.