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Demonstrators Mark  Anniversary of  Iraq War - 2004-03-20


Tens of thousands of anti-war protesters marched peacefully in New York City Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Demonstrators also took to the streets in several cities in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Protesters marching in Manhattan called on the United States to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Many demonstrators held signs and chanted slogans opposing the Bush administration's policies.

The demonstration in New York was smaller than one held last year, which drew an estimated 100,000 people and led to clashes with police. The protesters ranged from student activists to members of the 1960s anti-war movement, but they have the same message.

June Bonrudin: I think we are all saying it together, we have had it with Bush, we do not want war, we want to bring out boys home in a mannerly fashion.

Megan McRobert (Student): We were at protests over a year ago back in January and February, and we wanted to come out to say that we are still against the war. The protests in New York and around the world were called to coincide with the anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. In marking the anniversary, President Bush said the U.S.-led war was "good for the Iraqi people, good for America and good for the world."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly monitored the march from the sidelines, as protesters called on them to join the rally. Police in riot gear and bright blue jackets lined the tightly barricaded march route. Law enforcement authorities were also stationed on nearby rooftops.

The demonstration was organized by two groups, United For Peace and Justice and the International Answer Coalition. Speakers from dozens of organizations addressed the crowd, discussing a wide-range of social issues.

Demonstrations were also held in several other major U.S. cities, including Chicago and San Francisco.

Tens of thousands of protesters also gathered in several cities across Europe. The largest protests there were in London and Rome.

Anti-war rallies were also held throughout Asia, in Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Demonstrators also took to the streets in Sydney in opposition to Australia's participation in the Iraq war. And in Cairo, along with several other Middle Eastern capitals, protesters spoke out against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

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