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War protesters
include gays and lesbians

War protesters
include gays and lesbians


Gays and lesbians around the world joined thousands of antiwar protesters on Saturday to mark the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq

Tens of thousands of antiwar protesters took to the streets around the world on Saturday, marking the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq with demands that coalition troops leave immediately. Several thousand protesters in San Francisco danced in the streets, beat drums, and carried signs that read "Stop U.S. Imperialism."

Among them were many gay groups and gay rights leaders who denounced President Bush for launching the war. "It's very painful to me that our country is doing this and killing innocent people," said 70-year-old Joan Emerson, who attended with the group Old Lesbians Organizing for Change.

There were large-scale protests in New York City and other major cities across the United States. Rallies also were held in Australia, Asia, and Europe, but many events were far smaller than organizers had hoped. In London police said 15,000 people joined a march from Parliament and Big Ben to a rally in Trafalgar Square. The anniversary last year attracted 45,000 protesters in the city. "We are against this war, both for religious reasons and on a humanitarian basis too," said Imran Saghir, 25, a Muslim student who attended the London rally.

Britain, the United States' strongest supporter in the Iraq war, has about 8,000 troops in Iraq but plans to pull out 800 of them by May. The British military has reported 103 deaths there. More than 2,300 American troops have died.

In Washington a protester wearing a President Bush mask and bearing fake blood on his hands waved to passing automobiles outside Vice President Dick Cheney's residence, where about 200 people demonstrated against the war. At Dudley Square in Boston, a few hundred college-age protesters and baby boomers waved placards that read "Impeach Bush" and "Stop the War."

Protesters in several cities worldwide carried posters showing pictures of President Bush, calling him the "World's No. 1 Terrorist." In Turkey, where opposition to the war cuts across all political stripes, about 3,000 protesters gathered in Istanbul, police said. "Murderer USA," read a sign in Taksim Square.

In Stockholm about 1,000 demonstrators gathered for a rally and march to the U.S. Embassy. One protester was dressed as the hooded figure shown in an iconic photograph from the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. In Copenhagen more than 2,000 demonstrators marched from the U.S. Embassy to the British Embassy, demanding that Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen withdraw the 530 Danish troops currently in southern Iraq.

On Sunday up to 3,000 protesters were expected in Seoul, South Korea, which has the third-largest contingent of foreign troops in Iraq after the United States and Britain. (AP)

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