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Anti-War Protesters Rally in Washington - 2003-01-18

Thousands of people opposed to a possible U.S.-led war with Iraq are gathering in Washington and other U.S. cities. The U.S. rallies coincide with anti-war protests around the world.

People from veterans groups opposed to the war, students, mothers, members of religious groups and other activists are descending on Washington from all over the country.

They are rallying against a possible war with Iraq, and urging the Bush administration to find a peaceful solution to the standoff with Baghdad.

Kathleen Brown, a student at the University of Vermont, says she believes mass movements are the best way to bring about social change. "A wide array of people - students certainly being a part of that, but labor, parents, my little sister in high school - so a wide diversity of people out in the streets," she said.

Gulf War Veteran Erik Gustafson, who now heads a group called Education for Peace in Iraq Center, says he hopes to stop a war before it starts. "War is not inevitable," he said.

Saturday's Washington rally and march was organized by a group called, the International ANSWER Coalition. Speakers at the rally include actors and civil rights leaders.

The U.S. government has been building up a major military force in the Persian Gulf. The Bush administration has said it will forcibly disarm Iraq, if Baghdad does not disarm.

Protests against a possible U.S. - led war against Iraq also were held or planned Saturday and Sunday in dozens of countries, including Japan, Europe and the Middle East. Protests are also planned in Latin America.