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News, March 2008


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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.


Anti-war protests mark fifth anniversary of Iraq war in US cities


Protests planned across U.S. on 5th anniversary of Iraq war 2008-03-19 13:26:19     

WASHINGTON, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Anti-war activists will carry out a series of protests across the United States on Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

    Hundreds of protests, rallies and marches will be staged in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and other cities to demand a swift withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and to mourn those killed during the war, organizers said Tuesday.

    Demonstrators are planning to "blockade" the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, to hold a "knit-in" at the Times Square military recruitment center in New York City, where protesters will knit stump socks for amptuee veterans and baby blankets for Iraqis.

    Nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed in the war, since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003.

    Last year, the United States raised its troop commitment to Iraq above 160,000, the highest level since the invasion.

    An ABC News/Washington Post poll released earlier this month showed that 63 percent of Americans felt the war was not worth fighting.

Editor: Du Guodong

Anti-war protests mark fifth anniversary of Iraq war in San Francisco 2008-03-20 06:53:28  

    LOS ANGELES, March 19 (Xinhua) --

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in San Francisco on Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war.

    The protests took place at several downtown locations, with reported brief clashes between demonstrators and police, witnesses said.

    The main group of protesters carried signs, shouted slogans and blasted music as they roamed the Financial District. Some threw play money in the air and waved pink flags.

    About 150 people were arrested by mid-afternoon as police tried to clear some locations of the protesters, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

    One scuffle took place after about two dozen demonstrators staged a "die-in" in the intersection of Market and New Montgomery streets about 12:15 p.m. and were surrounded by 80 police officers in riot gear.

    After more than two hours of protests -- and about 100 arrests -- authorities finally cleared the intersection and reopened Market Street to traffic at 2:30 p.m.

    As protesters were arrested, more demonstrators from the scores who were watching from the sidewalk rushed to fill their place. Among those taken away were 20 people, calling themselves Act Against Torture, who were wearing orange jumpsuits with black hoods over their heads, said the report.

    "We're here to get arrested," said Leslie Mullin, 63. "The people have to step into this war because none of the government officials want to do it for us. We've gone all over town and people are saying, 'Good for you.' "

    Left-wing activist Daniel Ellsberg told the crowd, "The symbolism of people lying in death appears to symbolize the life and death seriousness as we enter the sixth year of this crime against the American people." He soon sat down in the street and was himself arrested.

    No injuries were reported in the protests, which began around 8a.m.

    Across the bay in Berkeley, about 100 demonstrators gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park at noon to hear peace activist Cindy Sheehan speak. About 80 people marched afterward to the Marine Corps recruiting station on Shattuck Square, where demonstrators had gathered earlier, said the report.

    After a short rally at the recruiting station -- which has been the focus of a weeks-long protest mounted by the anti-war group Code Pink, a group of protesters marched to the campus of the University of California in Berkeley, according to the report.

    Organizers said they have planned a larger-scale march from Civic Center to the Mission District, beginning from 5 p.m. 

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