Thousands Converge on NYC for War Protest

The Associated Press
Saturday, April 29, 2006; 9:39 AM

NEW YORK -- A day after the military announced that April was the deadliest month for U.S. forces in Iraq this year, thousands of anti-war demonstrators converged on lower Manhattan on Saturday to call for an immediate withdrawal of troops from that country.

Organizers said they expected the marchers would include the Rev. Jesse Jackson, film director Jonathan Demme and Cindy Sheehan, the vocal war opponent whose 24-year-old son was killed in Iraq.

"The Bush administration hopes to defuse pressure at home and in Iraq to end its occupation by bringing a portion of the troops home (maybe)," organizer Leslie Cagan said in a statement. "But withdrawing some troops is completely unacceptable."

The Police Department said it was closing streets in lower Manhattan in anticipation of thousands of marchers.

The Defense Department said Friday that at least 67 U.S. troops have died in Iraq in April.

Although that figure is well below some of the bloodiest months of the Iraq conflict, it is a sharp increase over March, when 31 American service members were killed. January's death toll was 62 and February's was 55. In December, 68 Americans died.