War Heats Up and So Do Protests

Demonstrations Across U.S. And Around Globe

When the hundreds of thousands of troops began to move on Iraq, hundreds of thousands of anti-war protesters began to march through city streets around the world.

A spontaneous protest spilled into the streets of Cairo, Egypt. Thousands of students, leftists and workers, marched on the U.S. Embassy, railing against the war. When police blocked their way, passions erupted into violence.

When American missiles exploded in Baghdad, reports CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker, much of the world exploded in anger in places expected, like the Gaza Strip, and unexpected, like Tokyo. Anti-U.S. protests rolled like thunder east to west: from Tokyo to Manila to the United States.

Anti-war protests are continuing this weekend in cities around the globe. Thousands demonstrated in Australia, Washington's key Asian ally. Protesters burned an American flag in Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans demonstrated from coast to coast Saturday and more protests are planned for Sunday. More than 70 people were arrested at an anti-war rally in New York that drew more than 100,0000 people. That was just one of scores of protests nationwide - from Washington to Chicago to San Francisco.

In San Francisco, reports demonstrators chose their targets with precision. One was the corporate headquarters of the construction giant Bechtel Inc., one of the companies believed to be bidding to rebuild Iraq after the war.

Protestors this week moved through San Francisco's financial district, stopping traffic at major intersections.

"We think its wrong for there to be business as usual while the wars going on," said demonstrator China Brotsky.

The protests left some usually busy streets in the heart of the city empty. On others there was gridlock. Commuter Bryan Silagy had this observation, "I have rights, too. They have the rights to protest the war. I have rights to go to work."

Opinion polls show that in California support for the war is dramatically below levels in the rest of the country. Yet in San Francisco anti war demonstrations have brought thousands into the streets. San Francisco police made more than 350 arrests as they tried to keep the streets open.

From Australia, one of America's strongest allies, to Pakistan, one of its shakiest, people in the streets of the world shared outrage in common. In Greece, more than 100,000 people descended on the U.S. Embassy, chanting anti-U.S. slogans, breaching the fence, and defacing the walls.

Europe was a hotbed. Fifty-thousand marched in Berlin; thousands more turned out in Moscow and Paris.

With American and British troops fighting side by side in the Gulf, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, went on TV to tell Britons their soldiers are fighting an honorable war.

"I know this course of action has caused deep division in our country, but I know that the British people will be united in sending our armed forces our thoughts and prayers," he said.

But even as he spoke, protesters filled the London streets around Parliament and filled the air with anti-war chants.

And as the war heats up, so do protests around the globe.
  • Mary-Jayne McKay

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