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Tens of Thousands March in Washington to Protest War in Iraq


Tens of thousands of protesters demanding the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq have marched in Washington.

The group United for Peace and Justice organized the protest. A spokeswoman, National Coordinator Leslie Cagan, said the demonstrators represent a majority of the American people. She said the November U.S. congressional elections left no room for doubt - the people of the United States voted against the war.

Speakers at a rally on the National Mall before the march on the U.S. Capitol included members of the U.S. Congress, Hollywood stars, active-duty members of the U.S. military and leaders of several civil rights organizations.

The protest is part of a three-day series of events. On Monday, hundreds are expected to visit members of the U.S. Congress to lobby lawmakers to end American participation in the war.

At least one group planned a counter-protest in support of the war in Iraq.

Presidential candidate and Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich told those gathered it was time for President Bush to understand that the U.S. Congress is a co-equal branch of government. He said lawmakers had the responsibility to cut off funds and bring an end to America's involvement in the war in Iraq.

Speaking at the rally, actress Jane Fonda said she was sad that the U.S. did not learn the lessons of the Vietnam War. She also called the approach to rebuilding Iraq "careless and thoughtless." Fonda was a leading critic of the war in Vietnam in the 1970s.

A father of a U.S. military officer who has been charged by the U.S. Army for refusing to deploy with his unit also addressed the crowd. Bob Watada, father of Lieutenant Ehran Watada said his son is being punished because he refused to lead his troops into the massacre of innocent women and children. He said the U.S. military wants to make his son a political prisoner.

A 12-year-old girl from Massachusetts told those gathered that the war in Iraq has not made the nation safer. She encouraged the youth of America to rise up and join together to tell the government to end the war now.

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