Chanting "What do we want? Troops out! When do we want it? Now!," hundreds of people converged today at Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street to protest the United States' years-long engagements of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The annual protest, organized by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), marked the seventh year that U.S. troops have been warring in Iraq. It coincides with the same day that the U.S. invaded Iraq - March 20, 2003.
"We're not in support of these wars any longer," said Muna Coobtee, a 33-year-old USC graduate student, who has been involved with ANSWER coalition since 2001. "We really need to focus on the well-being of the people in this country."
Demonstrators gathered on Hollywood and Vine on March 20, 2010 to protest the War in Iraq. Organized by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) coalition, this protest coincided with the 7-year-anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq.
Ryan Endicott, a 27-year-old Iraq War veteran, came to the protest as a part of an organization, Iraq Veterans against the War, a group of active duty and former service members who've served since 9/11 and are now speaking out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have claimed more than 5,000 American lives.
"We're going to stand up against these wars," he said. "We swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic and these wars are a clear cut case of an enemy to the state of America."
Stevie Merino, a student at Cerritos College and a member of the Students Fight Back organization, said she feels that the money being spent on the war could be better spent at home.
"We're losing the things that we need here at home," she said. "We have a budget deficit ... We have the money; it's all going to war."
The protest in Hollywood was one of many taking place throughout the country.
"We're gathering here today in Hollywood and in cities across the country to send a message to the Obama administration that the people of this country do not support his war in Afghanistan or the continuing occupation of Iraq," Coobtee said. "Every year we will commemorate that invasion and protest against the war until all of the troops are out of Iraq."