And millions of people across the globe took to the streets yesterday to protest the U.S. led war in Iraq.
Police in riot gear arrested more than 1,500 anti-war demonstrators in San Francisco: the most arrests in a single day protest in that city in 22 years. Momentum built throughout the day as spontaneous protests erupted in different parts of the city. Many of the arrested were held in open-air pens erected in the streets. A man jumped to his death from the Golden Gate Bridge after handing police a note that reportedly contained a declaration opposing the war.
107 people were arrested for blocking the federal courthouse in Philadelphia.
Thousands of demonstrators snarled traffic along Chicago’s main arteries, breaking through lines of police on horseback.
Student protestors at UC Berkley occupied the main administration building for more than two hours. 120 students were arrested.
During rush hour in New York City, demonstrators pushed past police barricades in Times Square halting traffic on Broadway for two hours.
Also in New York, “September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows” marched against a war they felt was unjustified and illegal.
100 demonstrators shut down a major bridge connecting Virginia to Washington D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood.
Protests were also reported in dozens of cities throughout the nation including Seattle, Portland, Houston and Pittsburgh among others.
U.S. based anti-war groups like United for Peace and Justice, International ANSWER and Stop the War Coalition in Britain are planning large demonstrations in New York and London on Saturday.
The U.S. has closed several of its consulates in Australia, including the one in Sydney, as a second day of anti-war protests gets underway there. 25,000 people have taken to the streets in Melbourne. Outside the Victorian state Trades Hall thousands wait in drenching rain to hear anti-war messages from union leaders, a Gulf War veteran and local celebrities. In Melbourne, activists chanted “U.S. Please explain, why did you install Hussein” while in Sydney there are reports of rowdy demonstrations and clashes with police. Australia has contributed more than 2,000 troops to the U.S. led coalition.
Protests in Athens and Cairo attracted between 150,000 and 200,000 people. There are reports of violent crackdowns against protestors gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
More than 250,000 people in Germany marched against the war. In Berlin alone, more than 50,000 students walked out of their classrooms during a peaceful march to the U.S. embassy there.
Thousands of French students also left their classrooms to march through Paris- where 60,000 protestors gathered in the Place de la Concorde for a peace rally.
Tens of thousands of protestors in Rome participated in a torchlight march to the Coliseum. Similar protests were reported in Milan, Turin and Palermo.
Students and schoolchildren gathered outside the House of Commons in London. The demonstrations there went into the night.
In Spain, anti-war protestors handed parliament a petition signed by 1.2 million people denouncing the U.S. led attack.
Thirteen U.S. Embassies and Consulates were shut down due to security concerns and others throughout the world were on heightened alert.
Clashes were reported between police and demonstrators in Ankara, Turkey and Damascus, Syria, where several hundred protestors tried to storm the U.S. embassy.
Belgian police used water cannon to repel hundreds of angry stone throwing protestors outside of the U.S. Embassy in Brussels.
At least a thousand student protestors in Amman defied government edicts prohibiting anti-western protests in Jordan.
Riot police charged a crowd of several hundred protestors in Warsaw, arresting 30 people.
Demonstrations were also held in Vienna, Delhi and the Morrocan capital of Rabat.
We go first to hear voices of protesters recorded yesterday. Then we talk to independent journalist Pratap Chatterjee for a report from San Francisco.
- Voices of protest recorded March 20, 2003.
- Pratap Chatterjee, independent journalist reporting from San Francisco.