With the death toll of U.S. soldiers in Iraq reaching the 500 mark this week, peace and justice groups are intensifying their efforts to build a Global Day of Action against War and Occupation on Saturday, March 20, the one-year anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq.

“On that day millions around the globe will take to the streets to say ‘yes’ to peace and ‘no’ to preemptive war and occupation,” reads a statement from United for Peace and Justice, one of the principal sponsors of the action. “Joining with growing numbers of military families and soldiers, we will call for an end to the occupation of Iraq and Bush’s militaristic foreign policies.”

Major protests are set for New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago, with smaller actions taking place throughout the U.S. Demonstrations are expected to take place in many nations across the globe.

The U.S. actions will also call for cutting the military budget to fund human needs, and for rolling back Bush’s attack on civil liberties.

The mobilizing committee of the March 20 actions includes the UPFJ, U.S. Labor Against the War, Bring Them Home Now Campaign, Not In Our Name, Campus Antiwar Network, National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

For more information and a downloadable leaflet, visit the UFPJ’s web site at www.unitedforpeace.org, or call (212) 868-5545.