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Though gathered in numbers smaller than at anti-war rallies of the past, the protesters assembled Monday in Salt Lake City to mourn the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war had something this year that they hadn't enjoyed before: Majority support for their cause.

"Today we stand proudly with a majority of Americans who want - actually who demand - we bring our troops home now," Tom Goldsmith, minister at the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City, told a crowd of about 600 protesters at Washington Square.

Police had expected as many as 5,000 demonstrators. And some of those assembled expressed disappointment that, at a time in which Americans are increasingly against the war, more didn't turn out.

Recent national polls show a consistent majority of Americans support a withdrawal of troops from Iraq within a year. And pessimism about the Iraq mission appears to have extended even into conservative Utah. In a January poll sponsored by The Salt Lake Tribune, just 41 percent of Utahns said they supported President Bush's handling of the Iraq war - a considerable drop from past Tribune polls that consistently marked majority support for the president's war management.

Goldsmith and other speakers credited hard-core anti-war activists with stoking the embers of dissent and igniting a new political climate in which protest is no longer seen as anti-American.

Now, said Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, a vocal critic of the war, is not the time to turn off the fire.

"President Bush is a war criminal," Anderson said, ticking off a list of alleged offenses to wild cheers from the crowd. "We demand the impeachment and removal from office of President Bush and Vice President Cheney."

Anderson said he used to think impeachment "was an extreme position," but said he now believes "anything less betrays our history of what it means to be an American."

Iraq war veteran Larry Cannon's speech carried less political vitriol but set a more personal and emotional mood for the discussion.

"We went to war," Cannon said, "and I've never been the same since."

Cannon, who served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, recalled a day in which his fellow soldiers opened fire on a car thought to be filled with explosives. Instead, the vehicle was carrying an Iraqi family trying to get away from the fighting.

"People argue that terrible things happen at war. Believe me, I know," said Cannon. "What I don't know is why we have to learn that lesson again and again."

Starting at Pioneer Park, the protesters marched to Washington Square, where they placed a flag-draped casket on the steps of the City-County Building.

More than 3,200 U.S. service members - including Utah soldier Brandon Parr, whose funeral was being held at a downtown Salt Lake City church as protesters were assembling down the road - have died in Iraq.

The Tribune has counted 35 Utahns and former Utahns who have been killed.