U.S. anti-war activists hold rallies to mark 4th anniversary of Iraq invasion

Anti-war activists draped themselves in white sheets and laid down in the street to symbolize Iraq's dead, halting traffic in the heart of the city and leading to 57 arrests on the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion, police said.

The "die-in" was one of several protests around the country Monday, including anti-war rallies in Seattle; Salt Lake City and Trenton, New Jersey.

Other protests took a more artistic bent: 4,000 white flags were placed along the waterfront in Louisville, Kentucky, and an exhibit of shiny black boots was arranged at the Minnesota state legislature.

In San Francisco, students, grandparents and clergy members were among those who gathered to read the names of Iraqis and U.S. troops killed in the war and call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

"This is what they do in Iraq - just lay the bodies on the side of the street," said Joey Vaughan, 20, of San Francisco, as he lay on the sidewalk. "I just think it's time people pay attention."

About three dozen protesters blocked entrances to the offices of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, before moving into an intersection.

The protests also included a vigil outside U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's home. Critics have called on Pelosi and Feinstein to push more aggressively for an end to the war.

A Pelosi spokesman said Monday that she respects the rights of people who wish to protest the "disastrous war in Iraq," but asked that they in return respect the privacy of her neighbors.

Police arrested 57 protesters who they said refused to leave the street after being ordered to do so. Most were released after being issued tickets for refusing a police order and being a pedestrian in the roadway, police Sgt. Steven Mannina said.

The rallies Monday capped a three-day series of protests from New York to Los Angeles. On Sunday, a demonstration in Portland, Oregon, ended in with scuffles and police using pepper spray. On Monday, 44 people were arrested outside the New York Stock Exchange on disorderly conduct charges.

In televised remarks from the White House, U.S. President George W. Bush asked for patience, saying his plan to stabilize Baghdad with more combat and support troops needs time to work.

More than 3,200 members of the U.S. military have been killed in the war. Iraqi civilian deaths are estimated at more than 54,000, possibly much higher.

In New Jersey, about 100 protested Monday in front of the state legislature, waving signs and calling for an end to the conflict.

"Not one more U.S. soldier should be sacrificed in Iraq, and not one more dollar should be spent sustaining war and occupation," said the Rev. Robert Moore, executive director of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action.

Speaking to a crowd of hundreds, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson called for Bush's impeachment, saying his administration had lied about the reasons for the invasion and had violated domestic and international law.

"I do not say this lightly, but the record is plain: President Bush is a war criminal," said Anderson, a Democrat in heavily Republican Utah. "He must be held accountable."

Seattle was host to two rain-soaked rallies, one targeted at high school and college students and another organized by a coalition of social justice activists.

"I want us to be a great nation once again," King County Executive Ron Sims said at a courthouse rally. "We are a great people when we wage peace, not war."

The exhibit of boots in Minnesota was part of a traveling exhibit - "Eyes Wide Open" - created by the American Friends Service Committee. Name tags of dead soldiers dangled from each pair, reports AP.

For several hours Monday, onlookers meandered through the exhibit while speakers called out the names of Iraq war casualties, starting with Minnesota soldiers and followed by other American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

"It's really powerful," said David Pederson, 16, of Minneapolis, who came to the exhibit in St. Paul with his father, Dan. "It's easy to forget how many people have died. This puts real feet in those boots, and faces to the names."

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