Mon, Mar 21, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Global protests mark Iraq war's second anniversary

AP , LONDON

From London's Trafalgar Square to the streets of Sao Paulo, tens of thousands of people around the world protested the Iraq war on the second anniversary of the US-led invasion.

British elections expected in May lent an added charge to Saturday's largest European protest, in London, where UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's staunch backing of the war has dented his support.

Police said about 45,000 demonstrators participated in a march from Hyde Park past the US Embassy and on to Trafalgar Square. Organizers said almost 100,000 took part. Several army veterans participated.

"I disagreed with [the war] to start with because I was suspicious of the weapons of mass destruction claims," said Ray Hewitt, 34, a veteran of the 1991 Gulf War. "I saw the Iraqi army in 1991 and we destroyed it."

In Istanbul, Turkey, an estimated 15,000 people marched in the Kadikoy neighborhood to protest the US presence in Iraq. "Murderer Bush, get out," read one sign.

In the US, anti-war activists marched in the streets of cities big and small, stopping traffic and wearing masks of President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Hundreds listened to anti-war speeches at the UN in New York before marching across Manhattan. A small contingent of protesters then lay down next to flag-draped cardboard coffins outside a military recruiting station. Police moved in and arrested 27 protesters.

About 1,000 people took to the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, displaying anti-US banners and chanting anti-war songs. In Brasilia, the capital, dozens of protesters burned an American flag in front of the US Embassy, Agencia Brasil news service reported.

In Poland, which has 1,700 troops in Iraq, about 500 protesters marched to the US Embassy in Warsaw, holding banners reading "Pull out from Iraq now" and "Poles back to Poland."

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