U.S. Protests: Persistent And Plentiful

Anti-war demonstrators march down Broadway protesting the war in Iraq, Saturday, March 22, 2003, in New York. AP

Undeterred by mass arrests, anti-war demonstrators nationwide took to the streets brandishing fake blood, homemade signs and candles, while rallies to support the troops were held just a few blocks away on Friday.

Anti-war demonstrations were planned Saturday for New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Paul, Minn., and other cities. Rallies to show support for U.S. troops also were planned, Illinois, Tennessee and Minnesota, among other places.

Tens of thousands were expected at the New York demonstration, according to CBS News Correspondent Russ Mitchell. The Rev. Jesse Jackson is expected to be among those addressing the throng, Mitchell reports.

He says police complain that the large rallies are diverting resources from needed to prevent crime and terrorism.

From demonstrations near the White House to a march through downtown Boulder, Colo., from candlelight vigils to traffic disruptions, anti-war demonstrations continued Friday as U.S. troops marched toward Baghdad.

"We will sustain this for many days. This is really just the start," said Jamie Hurlbut, an office worker who joined protesters blocking downtown San Francisco traffic Friday after eight hours in police custody. "I literally went to sleep and came back out to hit the streets again."

On Friday, raucous bands of demonstrators marched through the streets of San Francisco in the largest of the nation's anti-war protests, and remained on the streets late into the night.

Two side-by-side rallies, one attacking and the other defending U.S. policies, were held in Pittsburgh's downtown Market Square. Printer Bryan Reiter and co-workers left their job for a pro-U.S. rally, and held a sign that read: "War is evil, but sometimes it is the lesser of evils."

At a Columbus, Ohio, rally to support U.S. soldiers, several hundred people brought shaving cream, toothpaste and other supplies for the troops. In return, Gov. Bob Taft's office distributed 1,000 red, white and blue ribbons.

In Amherst, N.Y., 80-year-old George Messer took part in his first-ever rally - a show of support for U.S. troops.

"I had to get out because of these anti-war protesters," the World War II veteran said outside the Amherst Municipal Building, where about 75 people gathered.

After the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of prayer, the group broke into the "Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America." Passing cars honked their support.

Protests were far more subdued on Friday than on Thursday, when police made more than 2,000 arrests, including more than 1,300 in San Francisco. On Friday, about 900 people were arrested in San Francisco, 65 in Chicago, 26 in Washington, D.C., and at least six in Portland, Ore. None were detained in New York.

Though earlier protests had been peaceful, even festive, some demonstrators scuffled with police, and San Francisco police on Friday vowed to be more aggressive in controlling the crowds.

"We went from what I would call legal protests to absolute anarchy," Assistant Police Chief Alex Fagan Sr. said. His department said it spent $450,000 containing the demonstrations.

The policy was evident Friday night, when San Francisco police divided, cordoned off and arrested a crowd of a few hundred, some of whom said they were not demonstrating but caught up in the marching crowd. Several journalists who were covering the protests were detained.

Many anti-war demonstrations focused on federal buildings and the offices of politicians, including Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman in Hartford, Conn., and Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer in New York. All three voted in October to authorize President Bush to use military force, if necessary, to disarm Iraq.

Three anti-war demonstrators were arrested as they tried to enter the Nashville office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and in San Francisco, police blocked hundreds from entering the offices of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

In Olympia, Wash., a vigil at the Capitol entered its third day Friday. Peace activists with candles arrived shortly before the first bombs fell over Iraq Wednesday, and have since maintained a presence.

The turnouts were considerably scaled down from Thursday, when an estimated 2,000 people protested the war in downtown Seattle, hundreds more marched in Bellingham and Olympia, and smaller groups turned out in Yakima and Spokane.

In the nation's capital, about 100 people gathered outside a park near the White House. Atop the stroller of 2 1/2-year-old Margot Bloch her mother, Nadine, had written: "Be nice. No hitting. Peace now." Police said 22 people were arrested for disrupting traffic.

Smaller groups of protesters staged "die-ins" at major intersections near the White House, lying down and drawing chalk lines around their bodies, or smearing fake blood on themselves and the street.

Fake blood was also tossed Friday in Lawrence, Kan., where a man dressed as Uncle Sam stopped traffic as he dribbled red liquid on mock victims lying in the street.

At a federal courthouse in Baltimore, about 45 people were arrested after blocking a driveway. University of Maryland students staged a mock "funeral for democracy" in nearby College Park and about 70 protesters waved anti-war banners before trying to enter the building. When security guards blocked them, they dropped to the damp ground to simulate war casualties.

"We are mourning the deaths of innocent Iraqis who have no responsibility for anything their government may have done," said Ellen Barfield as she lay on her back in the grass.

In Boston on Friday, a five-week peace march culminated with a 200-person rally on City Hall Plaza.

"It's more important than ever that we continue to walk and pray and raise our voices against this war," said Sister Clare Carter of the Buddhist Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Mass., where the march started Feb. 16. "If we give in to war, there really is no hope."
  • Jarrett Murphy

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