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Last Updated:  Monday, 3 March, 2003, 22:17 GMT
US set for more war protests
New York peace marchers
Anti-war campaigners in the US threaten civil disobedience
As the build up to war intensifies in the United States, anti-war activists in the country claim that their movement is growing rapidly to match it.

The latest opinion poll in the United States, conducted by TIME/CNN, suggests that 61% of Americans either oppose a war in Iraq on any terms, or would support one only if it had UN backing.

United for Peace and Justice, a national coalition with more than 200 affiliates, says that in line with mounting public opposition, acts of non-violent disobedience and protest are planned in 43 American cities over the coming days and weeks.

"A lot of ordinary people from all kinds of backgrounds want to express their sense of the immorality and illegality of this war," the organisation's spokeswoman, Andrea Buffer, told BBC News Online.

"Some support may evaporate if the UN gives its mandate to any military action, but generally we've never seen such a wall of opposition to one issue for a long time."

Student boycotts

United for Peace and Justice brings together civic institutions including churches, student bodies, trades unions and local political lobby groups.

It was behind a protest outside the American mission to the United Nations in December, in which many religious leaders were arrested.

Student boycotts at high school and college level are now being organised, a march by women on the White House, hunger strikes and rallies.

More disruptive action is planned for the day that any attack is launched on Iraq, including occupations and sit-in protests in federal buildings.

According to the activists, the demonstrations reflect the outrage witnessed in famous acts of public protest such as the civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam war protests during the 1960s.

Warmongers

In Chicago, 43 religious leaders - representing all the major faiths in the city - united to send their message of opposition to Washington.

It is the first time there has been such an inter-faith statement for more than 20 years.

"Our message goes further than protesting over military action. We are saying that if this nation goes to war then we want regime change here," said one of the co-ordinators, Mike McConnell.

"These warmongers cannot continue."

In Britain, the Stop the War Coalition, which organised one of the world's biggest anti-war protests last month, says details of further protests will be decided at a gathering next week.

It says 2,300 delegates representing many civic institutions will meet at a venue near parliament to discuss acts of civil disobedience and mass demonstration.


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