Tens of Thousands of Antiwar Demonstrators March in Manhattan

Saturday, 22 March 2003 21:54 by: Anonymous

Editor's Note:  This editor has been to several protests in the Boston area in the last week.  Since the bombing began, however, the tone has changed dramatically.  The protesters are vehement, and those who support the war have confronted the protesters with equal vigor.  We are not so many steps short of violence right now; the nation stands upon the edge of a terrible precipice, one that can be avoided only with the cessation of bombing in Iraq. - wrp

The Associated Press

Saturday 22 March 2003

NEW YORK - Carol Laverne, with a pair of angel's wings on her back Saturday, marched down Broadway carrying a sign: "Thou shall not kill."

The non-denominational minister joined tens of thousands of fellow anti-war demonstrators -- many chanting "Peace now!" -- as they marched down Broadway on a warm spring day, voicing their opposition to the war in Iraq even as explosions were heard in Baghdad. Police and United for Peace and Justice, the organizers of the march, estimated the crowd at betweem 100,000 and 200,000.

"Which one of these words don't you understand?" Laverne asked, pointing at her poster as the protesters flooded past. "There's no fine print here. This is it."

The crowd snaked for 30 city blocks, with demonstrators still joining the march at Herald Square even as the first marchers arrived at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. The marchers filled Broadway from sidewalk to sidewalk.
No arrests were reported, but police scuffled with some protesters on a side street north of the park.

Among those marching were U.S. Rep Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., singer Patti Smith, and actors Roy Scheider, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Rangel said the marchers were anything but unpatriotic.

"We support the troops, but we do not support the president," Rangel said.

In contrast with San Francisco antiwar protests earlier this week that produced 2,200 arrests in two days, the Manhattan march was peaceful, moving south in an orderly fashion.

Susan Sonz and her 9-year-old son, Ruben, came to the march from their home near ground zero. "Ground zero kids against the war" read a sign carried by the boy.

"We know there's no correlation between Sept. 11 and Saddam Hussein," the elder Sonz said. "We don't want to see more innocent people die."

About 2,000 police were assigned to the rally, including undercover officers with beeper-sized radiation detectors and other counter-terrorist measures. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly surveyed the march from 35th Street.

"Things are peaceful and moving fairly quickly," he said.

The city granted antiwar protesters a permit sanctioning a march starting at West 35th Street and continuing down Broadway to Union Square before heading west to Washington Square Park.

No speeches were scheduled, and police with bullhorns urged the crowd to disperse once the march reached its destination. The marchers followed the orders, leaving without incident.

Granting the permit marked a switch for the city: In February, officials cited security risks in denying a permit to United for Peace and Justice for a march past the United Nations.

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Anti-War Rallies Ricochet Across World
ABC News

Sunday 23 March 2003

Major anti-war demonstrations have swept the globe, drawing Asians, Arabs and Europeans into the streets ahead of US rallies in protest against the third day of war on Iraq.

In a third straight day of protest, hundreds of thousands massed in front of US embassies and in city centres, branding US President George W Bush and his allies, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, "terrorists" and "war criminals" for sending troops to fight the Baghdad regime.

Europe at midday picked up speed in protests that reportedly drew several hundred thousand people in London; 30,000 in Berlin; 20,000 in Amsterdam; and thousands in Athens, Copenhagen, Paris, Stockholm and Vienna, including a record-breaking 20,000 in the Finnish capital Helsinki.

Asian rallies drew outraged outbursts from militants, chants for peace by Buddhist monks and several groups who burned a Bush effigy.

In the Middle East tens of thousands wished "Death to America and Great Britain" and denounced Arab leaders for not defending Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from attack.

In Jakarta, the capital of the world's most populous Muslim nation, 3,000 protesters picketed in front of the US embassy before moving on to the nearby British embassy.

The crowd, which included many women, carried a coffin to symbolise the death of the United Nations.

Peace protesters staged rallies in two other Indonesian cities as well as in predominantly Muslim Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Buddhist monks in South Korea struck giant drums at a Seoul rally of 2,000 to console the spirits of victims of the war.

"Bush is the war criminal," human rights activist Park Won-Soon said to the crowd, which condemned Seoul's decision to send non-combatant troops to help US-led forces oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Australia, which has sent 2,000 combat troops to aid nearly 300,000 US and British soldiers in the Gulf, saw four anti-war protests, including one in Perth where an estimated 10,000 people marched.

Thousands more massed in New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam in a further show of opposition to a war without UN backing.

In Japan, too, protesters in front of Osaka's US consulate decried Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's unwavering support for the US bid to oust Saddam.

Middle East

In the Middle East tens of thousands, mostly students, protested, burning US and British flags and waving copies of the Koran.

A day earlier fiery clashes with riot police broke out at rallies throughout the region and led to two deaths in Yemen.

"Bush may kill Saddam, but he cannot kill our Islam and destroy the ground of Islam," said Ahmed, one of 20,000 students who rallied on Cairo's Al Azhar campus.

Six thousand students and 8,000 others demonstrated in gatherings elsewhere in the Egyptian capital as well as in Alexandria on the Mediterranean and Suez on the Red Sea.

In the Gaza Strip nearly 10,000 people, mostly students, carried banners of the radical Islamic group Hamas and waved Iraqi flags.

Speaking to the crowd, a Hamas leader encouraged Iraqis to use suicide bombing operations "since that is the only language the Americans understand".

More anti-war protests took place in Syria and were planned in Lebanon, where a group of 10 lawyers began a hunger strike in support of the Iraqi people.

European rallies drew energetic crowds while thousands of riot police were on hand, a day after protests in Athens and Madrid turned violent, leading to dozens of arrests and injuries.


In London, Stop the War Coalition spoke of hundreds of thousands of participants thus far, although no official figures were available, while they did not expect the million-strong turnout of February 15.

One participant, 14-year-old Beatrice, said: "Tony Blair should listen to his people rather than to his best friend Bush."

In Gloucestershire, western England, several thousand protesters were expected outside the RAF Fairford base, where US air force B-52 bombers being used for attacks on Iraq are stationed.

In Greece 30,000 people - 7,000 by police count - banded together behind "Men above Profits" banners and anti-war placards in the capital after two straight days of demonstrations that each drew 150,000, then more than 200,000.

Italians launched more than 80 anti-war rallies, a day after a pro-peace farmers' rally in Rome drew an estimated 300,000. Other cities holding protests against the Italian government's pro-US stance and the war included Naples, Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Milan and Palermo.

Spaniards staged several protests against Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's part in the US coalition, with a group of actors chanting in Madrid "We'll always have Paris" - the mythic line from Casablanca
now used to back France's anti-war efforts.

Denmark saw up to 10,000 stage a protest in front of the US embassy, denouncing both Bush and their own Government, which on Friday became the third country to offer combat troops for the Iraq war.

France and Germany - leaders of a failed diplomatic bid to stop the US and British war drive - saw huge protests as well, including 15,000 Kurds out in Frankurt.

Protesters in Vienna pleaded for "More sex, less Bush", two ministers joined thousands of Swedes in their calls for the protection of civilian lives in Iraq. In Norway, protesters prayed with Archbishop Gunnar Staalsett against "a bloody and painful event".

In the US marchers were expected to converge on the White House in Washington, while protests also were planned in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities.

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Last modified on Monday, 21 April 2008 13:37