Anti-war march held in Chicago

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More than 3,000 protestors marched in downtown Chicago Tuesday night. The message: bring our troops home and end the war in Iraq. The protestors ended up in Daley Plaza for a rally.

Police estimate the crowd at between 3,500 and 4,000 protestors. They marched against the war in Iraq to call for peace and managed to keep the peace during their protest downtown.

They march several thousand strong down the Magnificent Mile, chanting, holding signs and making their presence known. They came from various backgrounds -- experienced protestors... students, and adults taking part for the first time -- but they were all there Tuesday night united by their hope of seeing an end to the war.

"If their peers are getting killed, I mean you have to do something to protest it even if it's not going to change anything overnight," said Caitlin McGinness, protestor.

Among the activists joining this march, a group of Iraq war veterans. Eric Ahlberg served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but he wants the war to end.

"I don't want to see our troops in harm's way for something that I don't feel is what they should be doing," said Ahlberg.

Along the route, there were those who believe it is not yet time for the troops to come home.

"I don't think their job is done yet. President Bush is the one who should decide that," said Phil Collins.

Alderman Jim Balcer has hosted rallies in support of the troops.

"I'm leaving it up to the military commanders. They make the decision. Let them decide what's best," said Ald. Jim Balcer, 11th Ward.

On Tuesday night, however, Balcer's is a minority opinion. The protestors want to see the troops home now.

The march was peaceful and Chicago police were on hand in big numbers to make sure it stayed that way.

"There was no incidents and we kept traffic disruption to a minimum. We think it was very successful," said Supt. Phil Cline, Chicago Police.

The police response was massive, perhaps in response to a march a few years ago that got out of hand and resulted in numerous arrests. Tuesday night, there were no arrests and no major problems.

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