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Anti-war protesters arrested in rally near White House

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iraq protestAs hundreds of anti-war protesters demonstrated around the White House during the seven-year anniversary of the war in Iraq, police arrested at least five people involved with the rally. The Washington Post reports the number arrested could be as high as eight.

The protesters delivered symbolic coffins covered with several national flags to the offices of Halliburton and the White House. Police arrived soon after demonstrators began laying down next to the coffins.

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The crowd carried signs with messages like “Indict Bush now” and “We need jobs and schools not war.” One Iraq war veteran burned a small American flag on stage while shouting “this is not my country.”

Some publications reported thousands of protesters, and not hundreds, but most stories agree that the protesters feared the country’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were being forgotten as domestic issues like health care carry the public’s attention.

“A huge part of the antiwar movement has been focused on the Bush administration and its policies in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Brian Becker, national coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, which organized the march. “Bush is gone. Millions of people thought his exit would mean an end to these wars. Instead, after one year of real-life experience, they’re far from ending.”

The fears of the protesters may not be unfounded. This year saw far fewer protests against the wars than in years past.

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Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz acknowledged that he didn’t remember Saturday’s significance. He said Americans can be forgiven for not having remembered March 19 as an important date.

“Unlike Sept. 11 or unlike Dec. 7, 1941, it was not a war that began with a traumatic event,” said Wilentz. “There was a long buildup to it. There was a lot of debating back and forth. … There wasn’t quite the sense of drama, shall we say, of the event itself, even though there were lots of dramatic events that happened that night.”

But in the capital, the date of the Iraq invasion was far from forgotten.

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Chanting “We are the change,” the D.C. rally included speeches by politician/journalist Ralph Nader and activist Cindy Sheehan.

Nader called Bush and Cheney “fugitives from justice,” arguing that the military presence in the Middle East was creating more enemies for the US.

In Iraq, the anniversary of the war was met with much less “fanfare,” the Washington Post reported, as Iraqis simply “went about their business, looking to the future with a mixture of trepidation and hope.”

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“Now we have democracy and freedom, but the cost was dire and Iraqis have paid that price,” said Raid Abdul-Zahra, 38, a technician in Najaf.

As the graph below shows, troop deaths in Iraq have tapered off as the withdrawal deadline nears.

iraq

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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ICE and Homeland Security busted pushing right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theories

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Donald Trump in Oval Office

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Trump is ‘having a full-blown mental breakdown’ and needs to resign: Ex-Trump staffer

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