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Protesters demand Bush resign because of Iraq war


William Hermann
The Arizona Republic

A group of about 80 protesters marched through downtown Phoenix on Wednesday, chanting their demand to President George Bush: "Step down!"

The protesters gathered at noon in Cesar Chavez Plaza, Second Avenue and Washington Street, and listened to event organizer Danita Miller say the president "has led the country into a war built on lies. We are calling on Bush to step down, and we will do civil resistance until he does."

Miller, 28, a Phoenix real estate appraiser, said she went to a peace rally in Washington, D.C., in September where she learned about the national organization the World Can't Wait and the group's plans for national anti-Bush rallies Wednesday.

"I got with some organizers in Tucson, and we sent out fliers and contacted (other organizations) to spread the word," Miller said.

As of Wednesday, at least 2,035 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

After Miller addressed the crowd, Jarrett Maupin II, 18, who recently lost a bid for the District 8 Phoenix City Council seat, spoke to the group.

"We are seeking out justice from this administration," he said. "We're here to say, 'We've had enough!' America is headed down a path to destruction."

Chet Leach, 72, of Quartzsite, said he made the long drive into Phoenix for the rally, "without a thought: I'd drive around the world to get this war stopped."

Joan Kroll, 64, of Sun City West, wore a sandwich-board sign that represented a large report card on the President. It read, "Peace: F; Budget: F; Energy: F; Election: F; Environment: F."

"I believe Bush never has been legally elected," Kroll said.

"Not the first time; not the second time. He is an illegal president who has led us into an illegal war."

Not everyone on hand agreed with the anti-Bush rhetoric.

Amanda Block, 34, a secretary taking a lunch break in the plaza, said, "I think these people have little idea how complicated the world situation is. I didn't vote for the president, but I think he's facing an almost impossible situation."

After Miller and Maupin spoke, the two led a march west on Washington Street and past Phoenix City Hall, north on Third Avenue to Adams Street, east to Central Avenue, south back to Washington and west back to the plaza.

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All I have to say to Ms. Block is that the "impossible situation" with which she says Bush is confronted is of his own making and it is high time he is held personally and politically responsibile for it. Highest praise to the protesters and I wish I had a chance to meet up with all of you who were in DC on 9/24/05. At least we who were there know how many of us marched but were ignored by the MSM. At least this march garnered the coverage of a major Phoenix daily. That's progess, if only slow.

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