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Iraq Protest Forewarns U.N. Ambassador’s Visit

Vowing to disrupt a speech by U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson here Monday, activists marched through the streets of downtown Seattle on Saturday to protest possible military action against Iraq.

The rally was organized by several activist and socialist groups.

Speakers at Westlake Mall urged some 200 people to be on hand Monday night when Richardson speaks at the University of Washington.

“The whole world saw (Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright and Bill Richardson” shouted down by protesters at recent speaking engagements, organizer Kaz Susat said. “And (Richardson’s) going to get it again here in Seattle.”

Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Sandy Berger, the national security adviser, led a CNNsponsored “town meeting” at the University of Ohio campus on Wednesday. A group of protesters chanted and jeered at the officials throughout the 90-minute forum.

On Friday, protesters shouted down Richardson at a foreign policy forum at the University of Minnesota, forcing him to abandon his half-finished speech.

In Seattle, protesters Saturday marched from the downtown mall to the Federal Building for a short rally, and from there through the heart of Seattle’s Pike Place Market to finish off the protest at Victor Steinbrueck Park.

“I’m with them,” said Schimere Sanders, 15, who watched the procession from a bus stop. Sanders said she had been discussing the possibility of the U.S. waging war against Iraq at school. “We shouldn’t be like that,” she said.

Several protesters said they would be present when Richardson speaks at UW Monday.

“I hope many, many people come and disrupt him,” said Maggie Lawless, of the activist group Refuse and Resist! “What the system always, always underestimates is the power of the people.”

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