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Mass Protests Scheduled in London to Demand Mideast Cease-Fire


Thousands of people are expected to march through the streets of London Saturday to protest the ongoing conflict in Lebanon and to call for an immediate cease-fire.

The protesters are scheduled to march on Prime Minister Tony Blair's official residence at 10 Downing Street. Organizers have urged them to leave children's shoes at a war memorial across the street from Mr. Blair's residence, to symbolize the many children who have been killed in the three-week fighting.

The Stop the War Coalition is organizing the march. It will call on the prime minister to drop his resistance to an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon.

Mr. Blair says a cease-fire cannot happen until a long-term political agreement has been reached.

The prime minister has postponed his summer vacation to remain in London and work towards a solution to the crisis. His aides say he has spoken to leaders such as French President Jacques Chirac and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

A government minister, Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton, denies reports that Mr. Blair's stance has caused a rift within his Cabinet.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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