Alexa

War opponents say rally will start movement to bring US troops home

War opponents say rally will start movement to bring US troops home

Protesters energized by fresh congressional skepticism about the Iraq war demanded a withdrawal of U.S. troops in a demonstration Saturday that drew tens of thousands and brought actress Jane Fonda back to the streets.
Fonda was known in the Vietnam era for her outspoken opposition to that war, earning the derisive nickname "Hanoi Jane" from conservatives for traveling to North Vietnam during the height of that conflict. She has avoided anti-Iraq war appearances until now.
Demonstrators Saturday carried signs to the National Mall that said "The surge is a lie" and "Clean water speaks louder than bombs." On the stage rested a coffin covered with a U.S. flag and a pair of military boots, symbolizing the American war dead. On the Mall stood a large bin filled with tags bearing the names of Iraqis who have died.
United for Peace and Justice, a coalition group sponsoring the protest, said there has been intense interest in the rally since U.S. President George W. Bush announced this month he was sending 21,500 additional troops to Iraq.
The group said its Internet site received more than 5 million hits this month, including 650,000 on Wednesday _ the day leaders held a media briefing about the protest.
Other scheduled speakers included Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy and several members of Congress who oppose the war.
Standing on her toes to reach the microphone, 12-year-old Moriah Arnold told the crowd: "Now we know our leaders either lied to us or hid the truth. Because of our actions, the rest of the world sees us as a bully and a liar."
The sixth-grader, the youngest speaker on the stage, organized a petition drive at her school against the war. "I encourage the youth of America to rise up and tell our government, 'Changes have to be made,'" she said.
The rally was scheduled as congressional opposition to the war is building. The U.S. Senate is considering nonbinding resolutions that would state opposition to Bush sending the extra forces to Iraq.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation to Iraq on Friday, while Bush met with military leaders in the Oval Office.
About 40 people staged a counter-protest Saturday, including military family members.
As protesters streamed to the Mall, Bush reaffirmed his commitment to the troop increase in a phone conversation Saturday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
A small group of active-duty military troops also planned to attend Saturday. A Defense Department spokeswoman said members of the armed forces can speak out, but they must not do so in uniform, and they must make clear that they do not speak on behalf of their military unit, their service or the Defense Department, unless authorized to do so.
___
On the Net:
http://www.unitedforpeace.org/