Anti-war rally for 'millions' announced
New York - Anti-war protesters on Wednesday predicted "literally millions" of people in New York, San Francisco and more than 30 international cities would march the weekend of February 15 against war in Iraq.
A day after President George W Bush said in his State of the Union address that he was ready to disarm Saddam Hussein's Iraq, organisers brought politicians, church leaders and Oscar-winning filmmakers Jonathan Demme and Mercedes Ruehl out to announce the protest.
"We can, when we stand up together, actually stop this war from happening," said Leslie Cagan, a co-chairperson of New York's United for Peace and Justice chapter.
Peace rallies on October 26 drew 250 000 participants around the world, while tens of thousands rallied in Washington on January 19 to protest the Bush administration's stance on Iraq.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, NAACP chairperson Julian Bond, Martin Luther King III and performers Harry Belafonte, Mos Def and Danny Glover will be among the speakers in New York, Cagan said.
San Francisco will stage a protest on February 16, and more than 30 cities from London to Tokyo to Johannesburg would hold similar rallies, she said.
"Literally millions of people will march in countries around the world in a unified call for peace," she said.
Ruehl compared the intent to declare war on Iraq to giving "massive doses of chemotherapy with all its devastating effect to a body that hasn't been proven to have cancer."
Another peace organisation, International Answer, planned an afternoon rally in New York City. Organisers said the group would also participate on February 15.
A high-ranking Methodist bishop will appear in an anti-war commercial aimed at persuading Bush, a fellow Methodist, that a US attack on Iraq would violate "God's law."
The 30-second commercial, featuring Bishop Melvin Talbert and actress Janeane Garafalo, is expected to be broadcast beginning Friday to New York and Washington viewers of the CNN and Fox cable news networks, said Stephen Drachler, a United Methodist spokesperson in Nashville.
Talbert, former bishop of Seattle and San Francisco, teaches at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville. He is the chief ecumenical officer of the United Methodist Church, which has an estimated 8.4 million US members.
TrueMajority, an advocacy organisation started by Ben and Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen, produced the commercial. It is sponsored by the National Council of Churches. - Sapa-AP
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