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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

100,000s March Against a War in Iraq

PARIS -- From Tokyo to Beirut, Paris to Washington, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday in what many saw as a last-ditch global protest against any U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Protests ranged from the release of pigeons into the skies over Bangkok as symbols of peace to the burning of effigies of U.S. President George W. Bush in Calcutta and the Gaza Strip.

Tens of thousands from more than 100 U.S. cities surrounded the White House to voice their opposition to war.

Thousands more marched in other cities across North America, including Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles, Boston and Tampa, Florida, home of the U.S. Central Command.

More than a thousand Communist and left-wing demonstrators protested in central Moscow Saturday against a possible U.S.-led war against Iraq.

A group of several hundred demonstrators held a rally near the Foreign Ministry building, waving red flags, portraits of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and signs that read "Bush, Take Your Hands Off Iraq." Some of the crowd marched to a second protest, near the U.S. embassy, which eventually drew more than a thousand people. A third rally was held at Pushkin Square.

Dozens of Greenpeace activists protested Friday against war in Iraq. Two climbers with special equipment and dressed in bright orange vests placed a large poster that read "Veto War" on a bridge across the Moscow river.

Another huge placard that said "Stop wars" in Russian and English decorated the embankment's parapet. A rubber motor boat rushed at full speed along the Moscow River with a poster saying "No war" on board.

For many it was a time to vent their anger at what they saw as an unstoppable march to war by Bush.

Some 2,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip set fire to effigies of Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, as well as U.S., British and Israeli flags.

Turkish riot police blocked roads leading to the Mediterranean port of Iskenderun to stop demonstrators reaching stores of U.S. military equipment.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar was reminded of the unpopularity of his support for Bush over Iraq when hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into the center of Madrid. Prominent actors, writers, opposition politicians and union leaders led marchers of all ages waving placards saying: "Aznar, Murderer."

French officials estimated some 150,000 people marched in dozens of cities, backing President Jacques Chirac in his opposition to any U.S.-led war.

Protests were also reported in Tokyo, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Australia and New Zealand. In Europe, police said 20,000 Greeks marched to the U.S. Embassy in Athens and around 30,000 people walked through Brussels.

In Iraq itself, there were state-organized marches with thousands of Iraqis vowing to defend Hussein.

(AP, Reuters)