DENVER – Thousands of anti-war demonstrators converged near security gates outside the Democratic National Convention hall on Wednesday, chanting slogans and asking to talk to party officials about getting U.S. troops out of Iraq.
Police in riot gear ordered the group to disperse, and after about 15 minutes many protesters drifted off. But about 400 gathered several blocks away, still within sight of the Pepsi Center, where the Democrats were nominating Barack Obama for president.
The protesters wanted to give Obama a letter asking that he agree to an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, provide full health care benefits for returning troops and veterans and provide reparations to the Iraqi people for damage caused by the war.
The protest began with an anti-war concert by Rage Against the Machine and other groups, which drew about 9,000 people to the Denver Coliseum. Afterward, throngs began the four-mile march toward the Pepsi Center.
Roughly 2,000 people marched, though the number was fluid as some dropped out and others joined in. The crowd included about 40 veterans who called themselves Iraq Veterans Against the War.