Activists protest U.S. policy in Iraq

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Peace activists demonstrating against U.S. policy in Iraq converged downtown Saturday, vowing to continue opposition to the coalition presence in Iraq regardless of any declaration that the war is over.
Administration officials said Friday that President Bush will soon declare an official end to combat in Iraq.
Many of those attending the protest, which police said totaled 300 to 400 people, said they were most concerned about civil liberties and the effect the cost of the war will have at home.
"Civil liberties in this country under the Patriot Act are under attack," David Meieran said. "At the same time, important economic and social programs are being cut at home, even health benefits for veterans, all under the cloak of war."
During a demonstration called the "Carnival of Greed," performers allowed passers-by to play games like "Pin the Missile" on the country the United States will invade next.
Other protesters said the war is not over until the United States removes itself from any role in Iraq.
"If it is America that is in control of Iraq, in control of its natural resources, then this war, this occupation, isn't over," said Derrick Gellman, of Pittsburgh.
"Sweetheart deals for U.S. corporations, the real reason this war even started, have to end now."
Organized groups taking part in the march included Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Association of Pittsburgh Priests, Veterans for Peace, Blacks United Against the War, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Green Party, the Thomas Merton Center and the American Civil Liberties Union.