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Monday, 30 September, 2002, 00:55 GMT 01:55 UK
Protesters turn to thoughts of Iraq
Protester chalks anti-war message
War became the focus of the march
BBC News Online's Kevin Anderson

The anti-globalisation movement is often considered a youth movement, but new concerns about a war in Iraq have brought many veterans of the protests against the Vietnam War back to the barricades.

A dog wears a 'Paws for Peace'
Younger demonstrators joined old hands for the march
Old anti-war songs could be heard as protesters put the finishing touches on signs that read "Inspectors Not Bombs" and "No Blood for Oil".

War, good God y'all!
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing! Say it again.

As the Edwin Starr song played on portable radios, a few thousand peace protesters both young and old gathered at a park in Washington to march against a strike on Iraq.

Pre-emptive strike 'Un-American'

The numbers were only a fraction of the 150,000 that turned out on the streets of London to protest against possible military action against Iraq.

Anti-war messages had been part of the weekend's protests, centred around the World Bank and IMF meetings in Washington.

But this was the only demonstration focussed solely on war in Iraq.

Protester holding sign decrying use of first strike
Marchers headed for the home of Dick Cheney, viewed as a proponent of war
The participants marched from the park to Vice-President Dick Cheney's house. Mr Cheney is seen as one of the hawks in the administration pushing for a strike against Iraq.

The police presence was lighter than at protests on previous days.

There were fewer police, and only a handful were wearing riot gear.

Many protesters argued that the shift in US military policy from a defensive posture to the use of pre-emptive military force was not only wrong, it was un-American.

"Waging unprovoked, aggressive warfare against Iraq is contrary to American traditions... and decades of American foreign policy," said Michael Keller from Annapolis, Maryland.

He added: "It's a radical belligerent attempt to institute a policy that says the United States is free to attack any country that just happens to be on Mr Bush's personal roll call of evil."

No first strike

Protester holds anti-first strike sign
President Bush was accused of having a hypocritical policy
Paul Rubenson and Trish Bright carried a sign saying "Al Qaeda had a first strike policy too".

They accused the Bush administration of hypocrisy.

"We first invaded Iraq because they invaded Kuwait," she said, complaining that now the US is planning on invading Iraq pre-emptively.

Mr Rubenson added: "We talk about how we believe in the rule of law and democracy and how we believe in peace and justice, and yet, we're doing exactly the same things that we accuse our enemies of doing."

He accused President George W Bush of imperialism, saying that the administration was pursuing policies that benefited the US and the US alone and felt it needs answer to no-one.

That echoed the sentiments expressed by many protesters who felt that attacking Iraq would not improve US security.

"It's a policy of paranoia," Ms Bright said.

"If there is something out there that we're worried about, we're going to make it happen if we strike first."

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See also:

29 Sep 02 | Business
28 Sep 02 | Business
28 Sep 02 | Americas
27 Sep 02 | Americas
28 Sep 02 | Business
27 Sep 02 | Americas
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