NEW YORK – In Times Square, anti-war protesters rallied outside a military recruiting station, demanding that troops be withdrawn from Iraq. In London, 15,000 people poured into Trafalgar Square. In Stockholm, a protester dressed as the hooded figure from a photo taken at Abu Ghraib prison.
Anti-war scenes were repeated across the United States and the world Saturday as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to mark the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Wael Musfar of the Arab Muslim American Federation addressed more than 1,000 people who gathered in Times Square. “We say enough hypocrisy, enough lies, our soldiers must come home now,” Musfar said from a parked flatbed truck.
Participants chanted, “Stop the U.S. war machine, from Iraq to Korea to the Philippines.”
Protests 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.
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.
The Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ said the rallies nationwide are a “tapestry of resistance.”
“Most people believe we aren’t crazy anymore,” he said.