Demonstrations In Washington

The protest slogans got colorful at Saturday’s anti-war demonstrations in Washington, D.C., when about a hundred counter-demonstrators lined the parade route behind the Lincoln Memorial.

“Where are your burkas?” screamed one young man, repeatedly, as he pumped his fist at the anti-war marchers passing by.

The anti-war marchers engaged in theater — one man dragged behind him a casket with a Massachusetts license plate on it — and had cutting catchphrases of their own. At the thick of the crowd, a middle-aged woman held a purple sign with pink words on it carrying the message: “A Real Man Knows When To Pull Out.”

The demonstrations marked the 4th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, with perhaps 10,000 taking their views to the streets. The majority was against the U.S.-occupation of Iraq, and — aside from the colorful, abovementioned screamers — remained calm and peaceful.

But many did raise their voices “against U.S. policy in Iraq and marched by the thousands to the Pentagon in the footsteps of an epic demonstration four decades ago against another divisive war,” according to The Associated Press.

The march marked the 40th anniversary of a massive 1967 protest against the Vietnam War, according The New York Times, which noted that it coincided with a series of other unrelated rallies in Washington and elsewhere. The main sponsor of the march was the Answer Coalition, according to the Washington Post. (You can read about what the coalition stands for on their Web site.)

The AP cited a protest in Madrid, where “tens of thousands marched,” calling “not only for the U.S. to get out of Iraq but to close the prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Smaller protests were staged in Greece and Turkey.”

World Politics Review attended the rally in Washington, where things came to a boil around midday. A mostly pro-Iraq war crowd of around 1,000 counter-demonstrators carried placards with such messages as, “I’ve Been Safe Since 9/11.”

Many of the counter-demonstrators were war veterans themselves, carrying American, POW-MIA and military flags, but according to the AP, not all were pro-war.

They congregated around the solemn grounds of the memorial in a tribute to those who died during the U.S. occupation of Vietnam. About 200 people stood in a line formed at the entrance of the memorial, where authorities had erected a set of metal detectors to scan everyone entering.

For his part, U.S. President Bush was at the presidential retreat of Camp David in Maryland for the weekend.

All shouting over U.S. policy toward Iraq aside, meanwhile, The New York Times carried a noteworthy piece on the front page of its Saturday edition analyzing Iran’s growing role in Iraq’s economy.

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