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Anti-War Rally in Washington to Have Pro-Palestinian Tone


Organizers of an anti-war rally Saturday in Washington are billing the event as what they hope will be the largest pro-Palestinian demonstration in U.S. history.

Protest organizers say they expect tens-of-thousands of demonstrators who feel passionately about several issues.

They include those protesting the Bush Administration's war on terrorism and anti-globalization activists demonstrating against the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

One of the key organizers is Brian Becker of a group called Answer, which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.

Mr. Becker said organizers were originally focused on the war on terrorism and protecting civil liberties when they began planning the demonstrations back in November. But he said given recent developments in the Middle East, the protest will now take on a distinctly pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel tone.

"We want the Bush administration to stop aid to Israel. We want the Bush Administration to know that the people of the United States are unhappy knowing that the government that speaks in our name is sending billions-of-dollars to Israel to carry out the occupation and aggression directed at innocent Palestinian people in their homes in occupied territories," Mr. Becker said.

During a news conference, protest organizers refused to denounce Palestinian suicide attacks.

The pro-Palestinian rally is planned just days after a pro-Israel rally at the U.S. Capitol that drew tens-of-thousands of Israel supporters from around the country.

Among the speakers at that rally was former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who blamed the recent upsurge in violence on Palestinian suicide attacks. "An enemy that openly preaches the destruction of our state is not a partner for peace. With such evil, there can be no negotiations and no concessions," Mr. Netanyahu said.

Organizers of Saturday's protest say it will begin with speeches near the White House and then move through the streets of Washington to the Capitol. There it will join demonstrations opposed to economic globalization and expansion of the war on terrorism.

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