anti-war protests spread
hit streets of Houston, other cities; over 140 arrested
to Alternative Reader Index
-- Anti-war protesters in Houston and dozens of U.S. cities took to the streets
Tuesday in full-throated, drum-banging opposition to the Bush administration's
threat of hostilities with Iraq.
than 140 people were arrested in Austin, Chicago, New York, Sacramento and
Washington -- mostly for disturbing the peace. Houston's Galleria-area protest
in marked contrast was quiet, drawing
than 30 people to line Westheimer across from the commercial center.
Hollywood, meanwhile, more than 100 celebrities issued an open letter to
President Bush critical of his push for a confrontation with Iraqi leader Saddam
Hussein, calling the president's posturing "alarming and unnecessary."
protests -- organized by fax and the Internet to coincide with International
Human Rights Day -- were among the most widespread demonstrations against
military buildup around Iraq.
are bridging a lot of other divides that we might have on other issues because
we all agree that a pre-emptive attack on Iraq is wrong," said Andrea Buffa,
co-chair of the United for Peace coalition
more than 70 organizations including religious, social justice, environmental,
women's and student groups.
coalition itself is an example of the momentum the movement has gained. United
for Peace began as a Web site started by human rights group Global Exchange to
list events commemorating the Sept. 11
It made its transformation on Oct. 25 -- a day before 100,000 marched in
anti-war demonstrations in Washington and 80,000 marched in San Francisco.
and activists say this round of the peace movement is unique because of its
attempts to prevent a war rather than reacting to one that's already begun.
Nagler, a University of California at Berkeley professor, said peace activism
today has progressed beyond protests of the Vietnam War era when the public
response swelled only after Americans were
killed and the war was dragging on.
say many groups were already in a good position to deal with the new threat of
military action because they have continued to oppose economic sanctions against
Iraq and enforcement of no-fly
in place since the Persian Gulf War.
Houston, protesters braved cold temperatures Tuesday night and peacefully
demonstrated across the street from the Galleria, holding signs and chanting
against war with Iraq. They said U.S. shoppers shouldn't consider this a usual
want to point out the obvious contradiction between celebrating peace at
Christmastime while our country is preparing for war with Iraq," said Ken
Freeland, of the Houston Coalition for Justice Not
which sponsored the demonstration.
members performed a skit in which Uncle Sam prevented Santa Claus from entering
a no-fly zone over Iraq. Santa said he had toys to deliver to Iraqi children,
but Uncle Sam said he had missiles and
bombs for them instead.
hope to heighten awareness that this is an immoral war if it goes forward,"
said Dave Atwood, who portrayed Uncle Sam.
passers-by said the protest taught them something about the possible war.
another side that we haven't been exposed to in a way," said Celeste
Anderson, 24. "Now, I feel bad."
have to be done over there," said Jennifer Hunter, 25. "I wish people
didn't have to be killed."
was host to two protests, including one where seven anti-war demonstrators were
than 150 demonstrators gathered around 11 a.m. at the University of Texas and
marched to a nearby Army recruiting office inside Dobie Mall, where they set up
an information table. The recruiting office
closed at the time.
mall official asked the demonstrators to leave and police stepped in when they
refused, said Austin Police Department spokeswoman Laura Albrecht. Protesters
staged another demonstration during rush hour on the Congress Avenue bridge in
downtown Austin, where more than 200 people gathered for more than 1 1/2 hours.
waved signs and chanted anti-war slogans, but no arrests were reported.
in Washington, hundreds of protesters turned out for a midday rally and march
near the White House.
the man down the street in the White House has chosen not to seek peace in his
heart," Gordon Clark, an event organizer, shouted to a crowd of several
hundred people carrying signs and
"And that's why we're here today to speak for peace."
with demonstrations abroad, protests in the United States have been relatively
minor. Hundreds of thousands of anti-Iraq war demonstrators have marched in
Berlin, London, Paris and Rome.
the White House, presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer welcomed Tuesday's
protests as long as they were peaceful, calling demonstrations against war
"one of America's time-honored traditions."
reporters Dale Lezon and Armando Villafranca, and Chronicle wire services
contributed to this story.
2002 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau
11, 2002 Bulatlat.com
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