Share this article

print logo

Protests across the country mark eighth anniversary of war in Iraq

More than 100 anti-war protesters, including the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, were arrested Saturday outside the White House during demonstrations marking the eighth anniversary of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The protesters, some shouting anti-war slogans and singing "We Shall Not Be Moved," were arrested after ignoring orders to move away from the gates of the White House.

The demonstrators cheered loudly as Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon's secret history of the Vietnam War that was later published in major newspapers, was led away by police.

In New York City, about 80 protesters gathered near the U.S. military recruiting center in Times Square, chanting "No to war" and carrying banners that read, "I am not paying for war" and "Butter not guns."

Similar protests marking the start of the Iraq War were also held in Chicago, San Francisco and other cities.

The Washington demonstration merged varied causes, including protesters demanding a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as those supporting Bradley Manning, the jailed Army private suspected of giving classified U.S. government documents to the website WikiLeaks.

Ellsberg has publicly defended WikiLeaks and Manning, calling him a "brother."

There was little talk of the U.S. missile strikes against Moammar Gadhafi's forces in Libya on Saturday, part of an international effort to protect rebel forces there.

Hundreds of protesters marched around the White House, but the crowd thinned considerably as the U.S. Park Police warned that they would be arrested if they didn't leave. As officers moved in with handcuffs, one protester who clutched the gates outside the White House, shouted, "Don't arrest them! Arrest Obama!" and "You're arresting veterans, not war criminals!"

Authorities said 113 protesters were arrested, processed and given violation notices for disobeying an official order. They could pay a small fine and be released, or be freed to face a future court date.

"The majority were cooperative," said U.S. Park Police spokesman David Schlosser. "A couple had to be carried, but altogether a polite and orderly crowd."

One military veteran who showed up for the rally was Paul Markin, 64, a retired Army colonel from Lynn, Mass., who said he is frustrated by what he sees as the U.S. government's escalation of the wars. He said he has been against wars since coming home from Vietnam.

Ralph Nader, a consumer advocate who has unsuccessfully run several times for president, attended the demonstration and said anti-war protesters needed to continue putting pressure on government leaders. He said he believed most Americans and even soldiers agreed with the views of the protesters.

"I believe they reflect the majority opinion of the soldiers in Afghanistan," Nader said.

There are no comments - be the first to comment