2009/03/21:Anti-war groups protest U.S. involvement in Iraq - VFP #102, IVAW

Anti-war groups protest U.S. involvement in Iraq
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
By Jackie Loohauis-Bennett of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Mar. 21, 2009


Veterans for Peace Milwaukee members carry symbolic flag-draped caskets at a rally marking the sixth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
MaryJo Walicki

Fifteen anti-war groups rallied at the Milwaukee County Courthouse on Saturday to mark the sixth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq with a march through downtown and speeches calling for an end to the war.

About 200 protesters attended the event organized by the Milwaukee Coalition for a Just Peace. They carried flag-draped coffins symbolizing American troops killed in Iraq and banners that read "Fund the People Not the Pentagon."

The activists said President Barack Obama's plans to end American military involvement in Iraq by 2011 were not enough. "We want the troops to come home now. This war is not over," said Jason Moon, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. "Tell the guys coming home in boxes that the war is over."


Iraq Veterans Against the War members Jacob Flom, Todd Dennis, and Jason Moon at the rally.  Photo by: Bill Christofferson

Speakers included Milwaukee County Supervisor Willie Johnson and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore.

Gwen Moore speaking at the rally.  Photo by Bill Christofferson

"You handful of peaceniks - keep up the fight. All we're saying is give peace a chance," Moore said.

The protesters linked the cost of the Iraq war with a shortage of funds for social needs such as health care and employment.

"The message today is to end the occupation in Iraq and focus on spending the money instead on human needs," said Bill Christofferson, one of the rally organizers.

In the past two days, dozens of similar rallies were organized across Wisconsin, and on Saturday hundreds of protesters gathered in Washington, D.C., to demand an end to the Iraq war. Demonstrations also were planned in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Christofferson said although attendance was down from about 500 at the coalition's 2008 rally, he was pleased with the number of people who gathered Saturday. "We think it's important to keep the heat up," he said.