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Thousands of anti-war protesters march in Washington, San Francisco

First reports from the corporate press: Thousands of anti-war demonstrators, including many anti-globalization militants, took to the streets of Washington and San Francisco to protest possible US military action in response to the deadly kamikaze attacks on US targets earlier this month.
Sunday September 30, 7:26 AM

Thousands of anti-war demonstrators, including many anti-globalization militants, took to the streets of Washington and San Francisco to protest possible US military action in response to the deadly kamikaze attacks on US targets earlier this month.

In the US capital, a handful of demonstrators briefly clashed with authorities, leading police to use pepper spray to control the crowd, but the protest was largely peaceful.

"We know that a new war will only deepen the cycle of violence," one of the organizers, Brian Backer of International Answer, told the anti-war militants gathered on Freedom Plaza, a few blocks from the White House.

"The primary source of terrorism in the world is indeed the United States," said another speaker, Reverend Lucius Walker, executive of director of Pastors for Peace, a group belonging to Answer (Act Now to End War and Racism).

"We must focus attention on the reason why" the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington occurred, he added. "The answer to that is in the misguided use of our military power around the world ... and corporate America."

The Washington protest drew some 5,000 people, many waving banners, flags and posters proclaiming "No War No Racism," "Love Not Fear" or "Heal, Don't Hurt."

Young and not so young militants, wearing green ribbons as "symbol of peace and mourning" joined anarchists, environmentalists, feminists, gay activists and foes of multinationals.

Many had come from afar by train, air or bus initially to protest the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which were to have taken place this weekend but were canceled in the wake of the September 11 suicide strikes that left more than 6,000 people dead or missing in New York, the Pentagon and rural Pennsylvania.

"This war that Bush is going to get into is for the corporations," said Samantha Adams, a 36-year-old militant who waved a large US flag. "It is not for the people. Defense contractors are going to make millions."

Earlier a crowd marched in a park outside Washington's Union Station, near the US Capitol building, behind a five-meter-long (16-foot-long) banner reading: "Anticapitalists against war, racism, terrorism, property."

"Destroy imperialism, not Afghanistan," read a flag waved by demonstrators.

"The solution (to terrorism) is to work with the international court system," not war, said Laura Vild, a 19-year-old student who traveled six hours by bus along with 40 other students to come to the protest.

"We should use every democratic tool that we have," she said.

In San Francisco, nearly 7,000 people touting an array of social causes converged on a park in San Francisco's predominately Latino Mission District to denounce the decision to use military might to fight terrorism.

"The Bay Area has always been a Mecca for the progressive movement," said Miguel Gavilan Molina of the National Chicano Human Rights Council said after addressing the crowd from a stage. "This is a beginning of a peace movement, not only in this country, but in the global village."

There was no ostensible police presence among the crowd, which was peaceful.
 
 

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