Protesters filled more than a dozen blocks in Manhattan, calling on President
Bush to bring home troops serving in Iraq. Mayor Michael Bloomberg estimated the
crowd at about 30,000; organizers said later that the number was more than
"It is time to bring our children home and declare this war was
unnecessary," said the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, a New York activist
addressing a rally in Manhattan.
In Boston, a group of about 20 protesters gathered at Copley Square yesterday
afernoon for an antiwar rally, Boston police said. Several Boston-area groups
also traveled to New York to take part in the protests.
Judith Baker, one of about a dozen or so members of Dorchester People for
Peace, said her group marched down Madison Aveune in Manhattan with their
group's banner. She said she and other members of the organization were adamant
about taking a stance against the war in Iraq and the subsequent US occupation.
"It's become totally clear that this war is just a horrible thing,"
she said last night by telephone. "You have to be visible, and we hope to
raise issues that other people aren't thinking about and give people a place
where they can come and talk about issues."
About 250 antiwar protests around the country ranged from solemn to brash.
An antiwar rally and march in Maine's capital, Augusta, drew 1,000 or more
participants registering their opposition to US military involvement.
In Montpelier, Vt., hundreds of silent protesters placed a pair of shoes on
the State House steps for each of the more than 560 US soldiers killed in the
war. In Los Angeles, one of thousands of protesters held photographs of Bush and
Vice President Dick Cheney with the words, "forget Janet Jackson's --
expose the real boobs." WorldPeace is one word.
In Concord, N.H., activists gathered at the State House yesterday to grieve
over the loss of soldiers and civilians in Iraq. "It's sad that we're here
again," said organizer Martha Yager, as about 150 people gathered at the
same spot as protests a year ago, when the fighting began. "We're here to
plead that enough is enough." Around the world, hundreds of thousands
raised their voices in rallies from Spain to Egypt to the Philippines.
Organizers estimated up to 2 million people demonstrated in Rome, and 100,000
in London, but police in those cities gave estimates of 250,000 and 25,000,
Antiwar activists jammed the streets of central Rome, many of them decked out
in rainbow-colored peace flags and chanting "assassins." Protesters
demanded that the Italian government, a strong supporter of the war, withdraw
its 2,600 troops from Iraq.
Paolo Quadrardi, 42, a mechanic, said the Madrid train bombings that killed
202 people March 11 showed that "war doesn't do anything but increase
No crowd estimate was immediately available for Madrid's protest, although
about 150,000 demonstrated in Barcelona. The numbers paled in comparison to the
millions who packed streets all over Spain after the train bombings.
The rallies coincided with the anniversary of the first bombings in Baghdad
last year. Although Bush ordered the attacks on March 19, the time difference
made it March 20 in Iraq.
While turnout was high in some nations, most protests were far smaller than
the enormous demonstrations held around the world shortly before the war began.
A New York protest a year ago drew more than 125,000 by official estimates.
Although that's similar to organizers' estimate yesterday, organizers last year
estimated that crowd at more than 250,000.
Last year's rally produced several clashes between demonstrators and police,
but police reported just four arrests on disorderly conduct charges yesterday.
New York police in riot gear walked calmly past barricades marking off the
demonstration area on Madison Avenue as speakers mounted a stage to address the
crowd on a sunny afternoon. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly stopped
by the rally, but didn't speak to demonstrators or participate.
In Bush's hometown of Crawford, about 800 peace activists from across Texas
marched, chanting, "One, two, three, four, kick the liar out the
"He got support based on fear," said Shannon Sharrock of Temple,
Texas, a former Army helicopter pilot whose husband serves in Iraq. "The
war in Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism."
Thousands of protesters marched through Chicago's downtown shopping district.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson urged the crowd to express their opposition to the war by
voting against Bush.
"It's time to fight back," Jackson said. "Remember in
In Cincinnati, Claire Mugavin wore a biohazard suit to a protest that drew
several hundred people.
In San Francisco, thousands of taiko drummers, cyclists, activists, and other
protesters chanted "End the occupation" and "Impeach Bush."
Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, and other European countries also saw
protests, while demonstrations took place earlier in Japan, Australia, and
India. About 500 protesters clashed with police outside the US Embassy in the
Philippines capital, Manila. No injuries were reported.
Demonstrators in Cairo -- vastly outnumbered by riot police -- burned an
American flag. Hundreds of people gathered in other Middle Eastern capitals to
denounce the war.
Globe Correspondent Jared Stearns Contributed To This Report.