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Protesters call for end to Iraq War on invasion's fifth anniversary

Posted: March 16, 2008 2:13 a.m.
Updated: May 17, 2008 5:02 a.m.

A woman displays the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq since March 2003, during a march in Hollywood Saturday to mark the fifth anniversary of the war.

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HOLLYWOOD - Some 1,500 voices drowned out the sound of Saturday afternoon traffic, as the group marched to decry five years of war in Iraq.

"Hey hey, ho ho - the occupation's got to go!" - The slogan thundered down the canyon of steel, glass and pavement, as police officers stood watch on foot, motorcycle, bicycle and horseback.

Brightly-colored signs were emblazoned with slogans ranging from "Impeach Bush," to "Bring the troops home now," "If war is the answer we're asking the wrong questions," and "Who would Jesus bomb?"
Flag-draped fake coffins were hoisted on shoulders and carried by volunteers.

The march was organized by the ANSWER Coalition - which stands for Act Now to Stop War & End Racism. The group was formed on Sept. 14, 2001, and is a coalition of organizations and individuals across the country.

The march started around 1 p.m. at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, heading west to Schrader Boulevard, then back east on Sunset Boulevard.

The crowd stopped in front of the CNN building at the corner of Cahuenga Boulevard, where the protesters raised their heads and shouted slogans directed towards CNN, targeted as a member of the "war-supporting" media.

Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic - author of "Born on the Fourth of July" - was brought onstage for a short speech, telling the crowd that events like Saturday's mark the beginning of a new age in America.

Former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, actor Mike Farrel and U.S. Army veteran and ANSWER member John Acevedo also made short speeches, and as the rally wrapped up the crowd observed a moment of silence.

At least 3,988 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press report Saturday.

Aside from curious shopkeepers and some pedestrians, the march drew little of an audience.

Despite shouted protests and waving of slogans, the atmosphere was generally peaceful and there were no arrests.

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