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Anti-War Activists Mark 8th Anniversary Of Iraq War

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Anti-War Protesters march down Michigan Avenue

About 1,000 anti-war protesters marched down Michigan Avenue on March 19, 2011, to mark the 8th anniversary of the Iraq War. (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 03/19/11 – 5:44 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – About 1,000 protesters marched up Michigan Avenue on Saturday, from Congress Parkway to the Water Tower, to mark the eighth anniversary of the Iraq war.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports, the demonstration and rallies, at either end of the route, remained peaceful.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports

Speakers and other protesters said they are tired of the mounting death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the costs of the conflicts. They also voiced support for pro-democracy demonstrators in Libya and elsewhere and for union activists in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio.

As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, protester Ronald Schupp said he doesn’t believe the U.S. military should get involved in the ongoing rebellion in Libya.

“We’re already involved in wars that have been going on for 8 and 9 years. Enough is enough. It’s time to pull all troops out. Our economy can’t handle more wars,” Schupp said.

But to Libyan American Ahmed Aduib, it’s not about dollars and cents but about saving tens of thousands of people from certain death.

“If the U.N. and U.S. didn’t get involved, it would be a complete massacre,” Aduib said. “He is going to massacre our people, but the people stand strong and that’s what my message is.”

One of the organizers at Saturday’s rally on Michigan Avenue said he believes U.S. intervention in Libya “will make it worse.”

Andy Thayer, of the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism, said “It will give Qaddafi a credibility he doesn’t deserve,” adding that U.S. intervention would allow Qaddafi to say he’s standing up to American imperialism.

Although some of the same people organized this latest protest, it was far smaller than the demonstrations that marked the beginning of the war eight years ago Sunday, in which demonstrators tied up Lake Shore Drive and blocked other downtown streets during the afternoon rush and police made hundreds of arrests.

Thayer said the anti-war movement in Chicago is in a “rebuilding” mode, but said he sees a growing number of people who find the foreign policies of the Obama Administration little better, or even worse, than the administration of George W. Bush.

Joleen Kirschenman of the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism said a number of the demonstrators also were celebrating the ruling Friday of a federal judge, who found that police wrongly arrested the protesters in 2003. U.S. District Judge Richard Posner wrote in his ruling that police acted that day “without justification.”

(The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.)

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