- SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -
More than 500 people were arrested in San Francisco on Thursday as thousands
protested across the country to show the world that not every American
supported the U.S. war against Iraq.
- "If this was happening in every city, there would
either be martial law or an end to war," said one Berkeley student
who chained himself to 16 others on a major San Francisco street.
- Protests took place in other cities across the United
States as well as in European capitals. During morning rush hour in the
Washington D.C., more than 100 demonstrators temporarily shut down the
Key Bridge, a major route from Virginia into Washington's Georgetown neighborhood.
- Three people were arrested there, but the rest dispersed
peacefully after police asked them to leave, officers said.
- More than 100 protesters later gathered in pouring rain
on the streets by Lafayette Park near the White House.
- "We're the youth of America and we're saying that
we don't want this war in our name," said Peter Matthews, 17.
- In New York, which took the brunt of the September 11,
2001 attack that President Bush has repeatedly cited as an example of the
threat to America, "September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows"
condemned what they called an illegal and immoral U.S. war.
- "We do not want other innocent families to suffer
the trauma and grief that we have endured," the group said.
- SUPPORT FOR TROOPS
- Many towns in America displayed support for the troops,
albeit in a quieter way. Towns like Waxahachie, south of Dallas, put up
yellow ribbons in support of U.S. troops.
- Some yelled in other cities at the protesters.
- "They are nothing but traitors. This does nothing
but give aid and support to the enemy," said Debbie Petee in San Francisco,
who said she supports the president.
- Protesters across that nation said opposing war was not
at odds with being an American patriot. "It's not like we're burning
flags," said Danielle Geroux, a student at an anti-war rally at Florida's
capital, Tallahassee. "We just don't want people to die."
- Vietnam veteran Mike Ward, 56, who participated in protest
marches in the 1960s, wore his combat ribbons in San Francisco so that
no one would question his patriotism.
- "If my grandson asks me 20 years from now what was
happening, I want to tell him I was in the streets," said Ward, who
was dressed in a black shirt with the words "Veterans for Peace"
printed on the front. "The protests are the only resource we have
because the politicians aren't listening."
- Students gathered at campuses across the nation including
at Harvard University, where hundreds walked out of classes at noon and
at least 1,500 people gathered at a rally where speakers denounced the
- Tensions ran especially high in San Francisco, where
hundreds of police in riot gear fanned out to try to keep streets open.
A police spokesman said they had filled several buses with arrested protesters
and that the number detained would be in the hundreds. Some were kept in
temporary pens erected on the street. Police estimated making 500 arrests
- At the city's Federal Courthouse, at least two protesters
took medicine that induced them to vomit. Some in the crowd flew Iraqi,
Palestinian and French flags. In some areas, police charged protesters
to carry them off one by one. Sparks flew as officials sawed through chains
linking protesters. Buses and cars stalled in traffic.
- A man who may have been protesting the war plunged to
his death from the famed Golden Gate Bridge on Wednesday.
- In Madison, Wisconsin, a traditional hotbed of protest,
police investigated vandalism at the state Republican party headquarters
on Wednesday night in which a half-dozen windows were broken and paint
bombs were tossed around.
- The war also clouded Sunday's upcoming Academy Awards.
Actor Will Smith pulled out of Sunday's ceremony and other stars including
Dustin Hoffman said they will wear peace sign pins, doves and even duct
tape to protest the war in Iraq.
- More than 100,000 protested in Germany. In London, thousands
of British anti-war campaigners blocked roads and scuffled with police.
More than 10,000 people, mostly students, surged through Paris chanting
anti-war slogans and some burned the U.S. flag.
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