Protesters Demand End To Iraq War, Peace At Home — Saturday, August 25, 2007

By Alexi Friedman

Hundreds of war protesters marched through downtown Newark today, waving placards under a steamy afternoon sun and calling for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Closer to home, the event also highlighted violence in the streets of Newark, particularly the recent killings of three college students in a West Ward schoolyard.

That's what brought James Harvey, whose 20-year-old son, Dashon, was one of the three killed. Standing away from the crowd in Lincoln Park, Harvey watched as the speakers took turns at the podium. He wore a tired expression on his face, but said wanted to show up.

"Anything to stop the war," Harvey said, "to stop the guns and the violence."

It was Iraq, however, that took center stage at the afternoon rally, with most of the speeches and signs, bandannas and bumper stickers, and pins and pamphlets devoted to the subject.

A group called the American Friends Service Committee arranged boots representing every service member from New Jersey killed in the war, along with sneakers and shoes to symbolize Iraqi civilians who have died since the invasion.

The marchers, organized by New Jersey Peace and Justice Coalition, began in Lincoln Park and walked several blocks north to Military Park, then headed back.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) arrived to push for his national health insurance bill, but drew louder cheers when he spoke against the war.

"We have an obligation to stop the war," he told the protesters. "It's illegal and immoral."

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