05/19/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Peace Activists Stage Civil Disobedience on 7th Anniversary of Beginning of Iraq War

"We've died the Chicago River red to symbolize the senseless death of more than a million people," say non-violent peace activists.

CHICAGO -- At noon today local peace activists poured blood -- synthetic, non-toxic blood-colored dye -- into the Chicago river and are picketing and leafletting over the site at the Michigan Avenue bridge as part of a series of actions to commemorate and protest the 7th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war and occupation. The action comes on the heels of a protest Thursday night that put more than 1,500 protesters on Michigan Ave. to mark the grim anniversary.

"Today eight local activists turned the Chicago River red in remembrance of the million innocent Iraqis and Afghans, mostly women and children, who have been murdered by U.S. forces since the first invasion in 2001," say the activists. They issued the following statement.

1,050,923 dead Iraqis, Afghans, civilians, soldiers, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, daughters, sons, friends, cousins, aunts, uncles -- too many. Our country has been stuck in unjust wars for over eight years with no sign of ceasing aggression. Most college students can now say that more than one quarter of their lives have been lived while the U.S. has been at war. We are all culpable. We are all affected. The blood is on all of our hands. As rivers needlessly fill with the blood of Iraqis, Afghans and U.S. soldiers, we must demand creative solutions to end our fighting. We must begin to transform systems that cause suffering into those that foster love. Replace violence with peace. Replace greed with cooperation. Replace individualism with community. We have already caused the death of over one million lives with the unending slaughter in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even one more life lost would be a tragedy. Let us end the wars and killing now.

Activities marking the seventh anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war will continue through the weekend locally and nationally, and peace activists have vowed to use the occasion to rebuild the movement and step up their opposition to U.S.-sponsored wars and occupations.