WASHINGTON – Millions protested in the streets at home and around the world March 15-16, with an estimated 100,000 here, 100,000 in San Francisco, 30,000 in Los Angeles, and 30,000 in Portland, Ore.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) told a crowd gathered at the base of the Washington Monument, “The disdain that this administration has shown for the American people leads me to one conclusion: We need a regime change in the United States. The people can stop this war. We must march every day until this war is ended. Everybody has a Congressmember and two Senators. They should hear from you.”

Josh Williams, president of the Washington D.C. Labor Council, AFL-CIO, said voters in the nation’s capital are still denied voting representation in the U.S. House and Senate even as Bush wages war on Iraq in the name of free elections. “There is a war on already …. right here in Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, Des Moines. It’s a war on you and on me. It is against those who are out of work, the poor, those without health care. And it is a war on those who dissent. We say: No more war! You are the true patriots in America.”

George W. Bush continues to face an angry outcry at home and abroad for brushing aside calls for peace and ordering a quarter-million U.S. and British troops to attack Iraq, a sovereign nation that poses no imminent threat to the United States.

The following are just a small sample of grassroots events March 15-16 across the nation. Americans lit a candle, marched, sang, cried, hugged their families and prayed for the Iraqi people and U.S. troops in the region.

ALTOONA, PA – Hundreds answered the call of Bishop Desmond Tutu and Rev. Robert Edgar and gathered in the town square to light a candle to halt the Bush Iraqi war.

GARY, IN – “Rich Man’s War, Poor Man’s Blood,” “Healthcare Not Warfare,” “Drunken Frat Boy Drives Country into a Ditch” are a sample of signs carried by 350 residents protesting Bush’s Iraq war. Mayor Scott King addressed the crowd. “Support our troops! Bring them home!” residents chanted. Mike Kisiukiewicz, 28 years at Inland Steel, carried the American flag in the protest march through city streets.

LAPORTE, IN – Hundreds rallied and heard Persian Gulf veteran William Schadowsky add his voice to thousands who are demanding that the U.S. take care of veterans. Congress has slashed funding for the Venerans Administration.

TUCSON, AZ – Over 1,000 residents lit up the southwest sky with candles for peace. There is a peace event per day here since the Bush build-up for war.

BENSON, AZ – Rural southwest residents added their voices to stop war.

APACHE JUNCTION, AZ – Families gathered in the center of town to light candles for peace.

BUFFALO, NY – Patty DeVinney, President of Nurses United, delivered the Buffalo AFL-CIO resolution for peace to a rally of hundreds. Residents marched to Millard Fillmore Hospital demanding healthcare and education, not war.

BRONX, NY – Neighbors jammed sidewalks, children holding candles, friends embracing and holding hands for peace.

KANAB, UT – Families traveled to town to gather under the slogan “Education Not Nuclear Weapons” adding their proud voices for peace.

GREENVILLE, NC – Residents aged 5 to 81 came to the Courthouse with their signs and candles for peace. “Inspections work. War won’t,” is the sign Joe Donohue, Gulf War vet, held high. Families also gathered for peace in Columbia and Clemson.

DALLAS, TX – Veterans for Peace held a ‘memorial service’ for those who may soon die at President Bush’s order, beneath 30 American flags at the city’s Vietnam War Memorial. The service was silent. Lining up behind open coffins, the vets marched on the busy downtown street.

HOUSTON, TX – “The Dixie Chicks Were Right,” were the signs residents hand – painted to express their demands for peace.

DES MOINES, IA – Hazel Glenn, 71, pulled out a T-shirt she made during the Gulf War and marched with her neighbors through downtown. The front of her shirt read “Peace is Patriotic” and on the back was “Love the Troops Hate the War.” Glenn’s son Phil is a Gulf War vet.

The author can be reached at greenerpastures21212@yahoo.com.

Denise Winebrenner Edwards contributed to the story.

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