Seattleites rally to protest war, pray for peace

Seattleites rally to protest war, pray for peace »Play Video
SEATTLE - Thousands gathered in downtown Seattle on Sunday to both loudly protest the war and to quietly pray for peace with the war in Iraq about to enter its fifth year on Monday.

Approximately 3,000 demonstrators rallied at the Westlake Center in downtown Seattle to protest the U.S. policy in Iraq. The thousands who share one common voice listened to speakers like Joe Colgan resonate their message - bring the troops home.

Colgan lost his son to an insurgent roadside bomb. He's now calling for others to realize that the war means death.

"His service and his death had nothing to do with protecting our freedom or promoting democracy," he told the crowd.

The protesters spent about an hour marching the downtown streets under tight police supervision. The crowd marched peacefully, but at least one man was arrested for allegedly taking a swing at a counter-protester.

"He threw water at us," said Mark Riopelle, the counter-protester. "He punched me in the shoulder and I like, I fell over to the side."

Riopelle was one of just a handful of counter-protesters that were present. But another counter-protester, George Bentley, said that will soon change.

"I'm one voice today, but we are getting louder and louder everyday," he said.

The incident was an aberration in what was otherwise an orderly expression of the freedom of speech.

Following the march, some gathered at the First Baptist Church for a prayer service and a candlelight march to the Federal Buildling.

Protesters plan to rally again on Monday at the Westlake Center at 3 p.m and march to the Federal Building at 4 p.m. The planned march is expected to trigger traffic delays in the area.