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World Reacts in Protest to the War in Iraq - 2003-03-21

As U.S. air strikes and the ground invasion of Iraq continue, anti-war protest is growing around the world. VOA-TV’s Chris Simkins with more on the story.

In Cairo, Egypt demonstrations turned violent Friday as protesters tried to force their way past police lines in front of the U.S. embassy.

It’s one example of anti-war protests throughout the Muslim world staged since U.S. and British forces attacked Iraq. Many here feel the conflict is targeted at their religion.

“Stop the aggression and oppression of the United States of America against Islam and Muslims.”

There were large demonstrations in Australia where most people oppose the government-committing soldiers to the Iraq conflict. In the United States anti-war protesters clashed with police and tied up traffic for hours in Los Angeles.

Across Europe, hundreds of thousands of people gathered to voice their opposition to the military offensive. In Spain, another member of the U.S. led coalition, crowds gathered in the streets to protest the war. Opposition was also evident in this regional parliament meeting where members pounded their desks.

In Britain, the demonstrations have helped to erode support for Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government. In a televised address Mr. Blair called for unity now that British troops are fighting in Iraq.

In Brussels, police used water cannons to hold back protesters outside the building where Europe’s leaders failed to heal divisions caused by the war.

There was barely a handshake between the French President and the British Foreign Secretary. Despite the anit-war feeling among world leaders the meeting did produce positive results for the United States. The European leaders, without condoning the war, agreed to help rebuild Iraq after the war is over.