About 100,000 antiwar protesters from around the country converged Saturday on the National Mall, galvanized by opposition to President Bush's plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq.
Although longshot presidential contender Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) made an appearance, the demonstration failed to lure the big guns of Democratic politics, such as presidential hopefuls Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)
"If I was Barack Obama, I would be up there," said Will Ehrenfeld, 18, a freshman at Tufts University.
Martin Freed, 60, of Alaska, said Democratic leaders were "cowards" for skipping the protest. "They ought to be out here addressing us," he said.
They staged the first of two rallies outside the Democratic Party headquarters at 9th and Figueroa streets, intending to send a message to those now in control of Congress.
"The Democrats, like the Republicans, voted for this war because they, like the Republicans, believe that the oil in Iraq belongs to us," said Jim Lafferty, executive director of the Los Angeles National Lawyers Guild.
One man, dressed as Jesus, carried a sign saying, "Even I can only forgive so much, George." Dozens of signs declared "Impeach Bush."
Drumbeat in Seattle: "Stop the war now"---Howie P.S.: We can go to Mars but still can't agree on a techonology to count the number of people who show up at anti-war rallies.