Anti-war activists mark 7 years in Iraq with march |

Anti-war activists mark 7 years in Iraq with march

Frustrated the federal government continues to spend billions on the military amid huge deficits at home, local peace advocates are marching in Nevada City Saturday.

The protest marks seven years since United States troops entered Iraq on March 20, 2003.

“We’re spending billions of dollars on these foreign wars, and our country is going bankrupt,” said Lorraine Reich, a local peace activist who is helping organize the march alongside the Peace Center of Nevada County.

The U.S. federal deficit is expected to be $1.3 trillion for fiscal year 2010, according to a January report by the Congressional Budget Office. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost close to $1 trillion since 2001, according to the National Priorities Project.

Also on the minds of peace activists is the wartime death toll. In Iraq, 4,385 U.S. military personnel have died since 2003, according to a count by the Web site In Afghanistan, 1,022 American military personnel have died since 2001.

Marches like Saturday’s have become annual events and draw crowds in major cities. Protests are in the works in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In the past, the Peace Center has bused activists to San Francisco Bay Area marches.

“More people like to stay here,” Reich said, adding they still hope to attract the ear of legislators.

This year’s event starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 20, with a rally in the parking lot at the intersection of Nevada and Broad streets and will feature music and speakers. Local musicians include The Shreds, Cool Hand Uke, Luke Wilson and Maggie McKaig, and Anytime Band.

Marchers will continue up the sidewalks of Broad Street and end with a reception at the Peace Center, 216-B Main St., next to the South Yuba River Citizens League building.

“It’s not just for people to come out and express feelings about the war. It’s about protesting the state of our economy,” Reich said. “We encourage everyone that has concerns about the economy to come out and demonstrate their democracy.”

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail or call (530) 477-4247.

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