Philadelphia Inquirer

Antiwar Protesters March Outside The Statehouse

About 70 demonstrators demanded an end to the war. Among them were two U.S. lawmakers

The Philadelphia Inquirer — Thursday, March 20, 2008

By Rebecca Santana
Associated Press

TRENTON — Holding pictures of troops from New Jersey killed in Iraq and waving signs reading "U.S. Out of Iraq Now," protesters yesterday marked the five-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq war by calling for troops to be brought home immediately.

"It's time as we gather on this fifth anniversary to say, 'Five years too many. Out of Iraq now,' " said the Rev. Robert Moore, executive director of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action, which helped organize the rally held in front of the Statehouse.

About 70 people gathered on the steps of the capitol building, many holding signs calling for President Bush's impeachment or with the words "Five Years Too Many."

Sue Niederer's son, Lt. Seth Dvorin, was killed in Iraq on Feb. 3, 2004. Niederer, who held a sign reading "President Bush You Killed My Son," said U.S. troops should be brought home immediately.

"What are these kids dying for?" Niederer said. "Let's get these kids out of there."

According to the Defense Department, at least 71 soldiers with ties to New Jersey have been killed in connection with the war in Iraq.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D., N.J.), who spoke to the crowd along with U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne (D., N.J.), said the ongoing costs associated with the war mean that other spending needs such as education or health care were being ignored.

"It [the war] is just taking our resources," Pallone said. "All that is just going by the wayside."

Many in the crowd echoed that thought, saying that the current U.S. economic problems can be traced back to the war in Iraq and the spending it requires.

"Our economy is suffering, and we all know why," said Ladonna Blount, 30, an organizer with New Jersey Citizen Action. "By putting that money there, more people here are not working."

Paul Shelly, 56, from Ewing, helped hold up a long piece of rope from which pictures of fallen soldiers with ties to the Garden State hung. He said there was a long succession of mistakes by President Bush's administration.

"I think we should have had an exit strategy a long time ago," said Shelly, who added that the Iraq war had left the war in Afghanistan "high and dry."

Other events, such as vigils and protests, were being planned around the state later yesterday to protest the war.

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