1,500 protest US occupation in Iraq, Libya

March 19, 2011 3:26:09 PM PDT
Marking the 8th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, protestors rallied Saturday against continued American involvement there.

The protesters also spoke out against the U.S. military getting involved in Libya.

Their message is simple. They want U.S. military involvement in the Middle East to end.

"We cannot continue to spend billions of dollars on war," said protester Julie Harley.

Many peace activists in Chicago took to Michigan Avenue Saturday to mark the 8th anniversary of the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.

"We should pay attention to our people here in the United States. We need jobs. We don't need war," said protester Anthony Thompson.

At least 1,500 demonstrators walked in Saturday event which comes as the United States begins military action in Libya.

"It's all controlled by the government. The president of Libya, what 30 years there, and all of a sudden we don't want him no more?" said protester Dennis Greminger.

Last month, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq doubted that U.S. military occupation would end this year as originally predicted.

Some here argue the human and financial cost is just too high.

"The United States spends as much on its military as the rest of the world combined, so is it any wonder why here in Chicago we're facing budget cutbacks," said Andy Thayer, Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism.

Saturday's march also included a rally with more than 70 local faith based organizations, along with student and community organizations, with agendas ranging from workers rights to 9/11 conspiracies.

They all hope to spark change in our democracy.

"It's important for us to stay aware and do everything we can to keep our freedoms and everything," said protester Colton Scheer.

The protest was a peaceful one. Chicago police have not made us aware of any arrests at Saturday's rally.