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Youth Make Up Largest Group of Anti-war Protesters

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As part of our coverage of the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, KPCC has been exploring the anti-war movement. Special Correspondent Kitty Felde took a look at who is showing up at the marches.

[Chanting: "One, two, three, four, we don't want your oil war..."]

Kitty Felde: Chino High School senior Nicole German has been showing up at antiwar protests for the past three years. She says she was inspired by the young people who protested the Vietnam War four decades ago.

Nicole German: That was very big in our history. And it's a time I'm very proud, only because it shows that the people do have a say in our government. And I always say that. If people think protesting doesn't make a difference, then explain how the Vietnam war ended.

Felde: German wasn't the only young person at Saturday's rally. In fact, a national survey of anti-war demonstrators shows that the largest group of protesters are young – ages 16 to 30.

Michael Heaney: The anti-war movement is becoming their first introduction to politics.

Felde: University of Florida political scientist Michael Heaney surveyed anti-war protesters across the country. He found a second age group well-represented at rallies against the War in Iraq – "Baby Boomers," who make up about a third of the protest crowd.

Heaney: 27% of people at the typical anti-war demonstration have protested against the Vietnam War. And, when we look at the leaders, 47% of the leaders participated in the Vietnam War anti-war movement. So this is a movement which is being run by young people who are new to politics, and older people who are returning to politics after years since they've participated in anti-Vietnam protests.

Felde: Heaney also found 80% of those who protest are white, two-thirds have college degrees, and less than 1% identify themselves as Republicans.