Members of a Lawrence peace group hope for at least 1,000 people to march through downtown during an anti-war rally today, part of a series of demonstrations expected across the country.
"Specifically, we want an exit strategy, if not our troops brought home from Iraq immediately," said Louise Hanson, a founding member of the Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice, which started in 1976.
The Lawrence rally will coincide with anti-Iraq war demonstrations planned around the nation this weekend - including events in Washington, D.C., led by activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son, Casey, a U.S. Army specialist, died in combat in Iraq during 2004.
The Lawrence event will begin at 11 a.m. at Buford M. Watson Jr. Park. A march to South Park will begin about 11:15 a.m. At South Park, food, games and face painting are planned, along with a soap box for speakers.
"Anyone can talk about anything they want as long as they do it peacefully," said Joe Douglas, a Lawrence psychiatrist and coalition member since 2002.
Douglas, who served in the U.S. Navy in the Atlantic Ocean during Vietnam, said he planned to play the guitar and sing two songs he wrote about Sheehan.
"We just want to get people to voice their concerns about the ongoing war - this catastrophic situation in Iraq," Hanson said.