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Saturday rally calls for bringing troops home

People who want to bring U.S. troops back from Iraq are invited to a noon peace rally Saturday in downtown Olympia.

The rally, organized by Rachel Corrie Chapter 109 of Veterans for Peace and other local peace organizations, coincides with similar events planned in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere nationwide.

"What prompted it is that people are all saying the same thing since the

Nov. 6 election: It's time to get out to bring them home," said Ken Schwilk of Veterans for Peace.

Bagpipe music will start the rally, which will be on both sides of Fourth Avenue near the bridge. Dwight Pelz, chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party, and Muhammad Ayub, peace activist and head of the outreach committee for the Islamic Center of Olympia, will speak briefly about what people can do next.

Members of the state Democratic Party also plan to attend as an intermission to the biennial reorganization meeting to elect officers, which is today and Saturday at Red Lion Olympia Hotel.

Opposing the war is part of state and county Democrats' platform, said John Cusick, chairman of the Thurston County Democrats.

"Since the beginning of the conflict in Iraq, we've felt it was a mistake," he said.

Fort Lewis donations

Attendees are urged to bring signs and banners calling to bring home the troops. In addition, organizers are collecting donations for the Fort Lewis commissary fund as well as canned food for food banks.

"The intent is to also say that we support the military; the (people) who have sacrificed the most are the military and their families," Schwilk said.

The event was organized before President Bush's call earlier this month to increase the U.S. troop presence in Iraq, but that plan adds to the necessity to act, Schwilk said.

"We need to continue to keep the pressure on by contacting our city councils, by contacting our state Legislature to take action," he said.

Diane Huber covers the city of Lacey for The Olympian. She can be reached at 360-357-0204 or dhuber@theolympian.com. If you go

What: "Bring Them Home" peace rally

When: noon to 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Downtown Olympia on both sides of Fourth Avenue, near the bridge

More information: Call 360-412-0065 If you go

What: "Bring Them Home" peace rally

When: noon to 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Downtown Olympia on both sides of Fourth Avenue, near the bridge

More information: Call 360-412-0065

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