Tens of thousands of people turned out around the world Saturday to protest U-S preparations for a possible attack on Iraq.
Large crowds braved subzero temperatures in Washington to hear antiwar speeches in front of the U-S Capitol before a noisy but non-violent march to a major military installation nearby. The crowd carried signs declaring "no blood for oil" while chanting "drop Bush not bombs."
Similar rallies were scheduled in other American cities throughout the day. A second round of protests is planned outside the White House and elsewhere on Sunday.
A Newsweek magazine poll (published Saturday) says eight out of 10 Americans believe the country would be safer if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein were no longer in power. A similar number also said they support military action against Iraq if the United States is joined by its major allies and has the full backing of the U-N Security Council. However, 60 percent said it is more important to take more time to achieve U-S goals without using military force, while 35 percent said military force is the only way to deal effectively with Iraq.
Activists also attended events around the world designed to pressure President Bush to seek diplomatic means to rid Iraq of its banned weapons of mass destruction. Peaceful protests were held throughout Japan, while thousands marched in Paris and Cairo. Events were scheduled in Latin America and elsewhere in Europe and the Mideast.
Hundreds rallied outside the U-S consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, while several protesters entered the building to deliver an anti-war petition. A similar demonstration took place outside the U-S embassy in Moscow.