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Last Updated:  Sunday, 2 March, 2003, 18:06 GMT
Pakistan heads anti-war protests
Anti-war protesters in Pakistan chant as they hold pictures of Osama Bin Laden
Some protesters carried posters of wanted al-Qaeda leader Bin Laden
Tens of thousands of Pakistanis have filled the streets of Karachi to protest against possible military conflict in Iraq, as anti-war protests continued across the globe.

Although numbers fell far short of the million people organisers had hoped for, the protest marked a change from the country's more muted attitude to possible conflict in the past.

Up to 100,000 are thought to have attended.

Protesters marched with posters, some depicting al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, while others carried banners denouncing any prospective war as merely a pretext to acquire Iraqi oil.

BBC Islamabad correspondent Paul Anderson said that the march, organised by an alliance of radical Islamic parties, sent a strong message to Pakistani authorities not to support the pro-war faction on the United Nations Security Council.

Pakistan has a temporary seat on the Council and is torn between its strong alliance with the US and growing anti-US anger from its population.

Unusual protests

Meanwhile in Chile, about 300 men and women protested by stripping naked in a park in central Santiago.

Naked Australians spell
Naked Australians spelled an anti-war message with their bodies

Police arrested about a dozen demonstrators after they marched from the park to the presidential palace of La Moneda.

A similar protest was held in Sydney, Australia, where more than 300 women use their naked bodies to spell out No War on a sports field.

Several hundred fully-clothed protesters gathered outside the gates of Prime Minister John Howard's official residence in the capital, Canberra, some with placards condemning "Genocide against Muslims", the Associated Press news agency reported.

On Saturday about 2,000 German and French protesters marched on the Rhine bridge near Kehl, western Germany.

Overnight in Turkey, protesters gathered in the centre of the country's capital, Ankara, to celebrate the decision by Turkish parliament to vote against the deployment of US troops on its soil, chanting "No to War", waving flags and embracing each other.

Earlier tens of thousands of demonstrators had waved banners in a square two kilometres from parliament as it had prepared to vote.

And in South Korea anti-war protesters scuffled with police when about 2,000 demonstrators tried to march on the US embassy in Seoul.

Diplomatic moves

On the diplomatic front, the looming vote on a second UN resolution on Iraq has triggered increasingly frantic efforts to sway countries on the security council in favour or against the resolution.

It requires the votes of nine of the 15 council members to pass.

Russia - which opposes a new resolution - has embarked on a round of diplomatic contacts with members of the Council still undecided on the issue.

And the French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, has reiterated that his country is opposed to a new UN resolution on Iraq.

Mr de Villepin told the BBC's Breakfast with Frost programme that the UN should not become a rubber stamp for decisions already made, and France could not agree to the use of force against Iraq unless it became unavoidable.

Only the United States, the UK, Spain and Bulgaria are definitely in favour of the resolution.




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