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Massive Anti-War Protest Held in Rome - 2003-02-15


A massive demonstration was held on the streets of Rome Saturday to protest a possible war with Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of people took part in downtown Rome for a huge peace rally. Turnout was so significant it seemed the whole city was at the march. Blue skies and warmer weather conditions brought families out with very young children.

While the rest of Rome was deserted, the streets of the city center were flooded with colorful rainbow peace flags and joyful demonstrators.

Santino Russomanno said he came to demonstrate because he thinks war is the wrong method to resolve problems because people, human beings are killed in wars. He came from the south of Italy to take part in Saturday's demonstration.

While agreeing that the Iraqi government could be a threat, Mr. Russomanno said that the situation should be resolved in a different way and without resorting to war. Mr. Russomanno said he thinks many governments are not looking for all the possible ways to put an end to Saddam Hussein's dictatorship.

The police presence, while significant with more than 5,000 officers watching over proceedings, was understated.

Many demonstrators held banners reading "Not in my name" and "No to war" but there was little anger and anti-American sentiment. The Rome peace rally was a festive occasion with people singing and dancing as they marched along.