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Americans demonstrate for, against war

More than 200,000 march through Manhattan

Police estimate that more than 200,000 demonstrators marched against the war Saturday in New York.
Police estimate that more than 200,000 demonstrators marched against the war Saturday in New York.

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Day two of strikes against Iraq brought protesters to the streets.
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Supporters and opponents of the U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq took to the streets Saturday in cities across the United States.

In New York, sign-carrying protesters snaked for more than a mile and a half Saturday afternoon through the heart of Manhattan to express their opposition to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

A New York police source estimated that more than 200,000 people participated in the march, which wound its way from Herald Square down Broadway to Washington Square Park. Organizers of the rallies said well over 300,000 people attended.

About 2.5 hours into the march, some skirmishes broke out between police and demonstrators, and police chased some protesters through side streets.

Some marchers said police used pepper spray against the demonstrators. Police said 11 officers were "Maced in the face" by protesters. Of those, seven were taken to hospitals.

There were 91 arrests, police said, on charges that included resisting arrest, reckless endangerment and assault on an officer.

Demonstrators carried signs with messages that included "Shock and Awe = Terrorism," "Money for Jobs, Not for War" and "Chirac for President 2004," the last a reference to French President Jacques Chirac, who has been a leading international voice against the war.

"I think war is an act of murder. I think peace is an act of love," said one man who attended the rally.

Both sides demonstrate in Chicago

In Chicago, Illinois, which has been the scene of large antiwar rallies for the past three nights, demonstrators expressing support for President Bush and U.S. troops rallied downtown, about 60 feet from where opponents of the war rallied. Police kept the two groups apart.

"I'm here to support the troops. God bless America," one woman said.

In this crowd, messages on signs included "W: 4 More Years," "I'm So French I Hate Myself" and "Spirit of 76%," a reference to poll numbers showing strong public support for Bush's decision to go to war.

In Atlanta, Georgia, about 1,000 antiwar demonstrators gathered downtown and marched a mile to CNN Center before dispersing. Many complained that CNN's coverage was glorifying the war.

In Washington, D.C., several hundred war opponents gathered at Lafayette Park near the White House and marched through the streets toward Thomas Circle, snarling traffic.

Police barricaded a road to stop the march after demonstrators departed from the route set out in their parade permit, Police Chief Charles Ramsey said.

After a standoff lasting about 20 minutes, the demonstrators dispersed, though another crowd later gathered at Lafayette Park.

That crowd chanted "Not my president, not my war!" and "No blood for oil!" and carried signs reading "Bush you have 48 hours to leave the White House" and "Peace is patriotism."

Ramsey would not estimate the size of the crowd, which filled about half a city block as it marched.

Police on horseback, motorcycle, foot and bicycle were present in force throughout Washington.

Nine people were arrested, including a woman who was charged with assaulting a police officer after she knocked him off his bicycle.

Media coverage protested

In Los Angeles, California, a few blocks from the site where the Academy Awards are scheduled to be held Sunday, thousands of protesters snarled traffic and marched several blocks to protest the war and media coverage.

The crowds, which included teenagers and Vietnam veterans, converged on CNN's Los Angeles bureau, chanting "CNN and NBC, put the peace march on TV."

Participants carried signs reading "CNN -- Weapons of mass deception" and "CNN -- Censorship Cable Network."

Protesters also denounced other major news networks' coverage of the war, saying they failed to give equal time to the peace movement.

"I think the media has been biased because all we see is military experts and more media experts. The peace movement has been largely ignored," said Cesar Arredando, a freelance writer in Los Angeles.

Police made arrests after the three-hour demonstration, when about 50 protesters refused to leave a street corner, according to a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman.

A few thousand people came out in Clarksville, Tennessee, near Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home to the 101st Airborne Division, to show support for military personnel deployed in the Persian Gulf region.

In San Francisco, California, where police have arrested more than 1,600 people during two days of protests, another antiwar rally got under way Saturday afternoon.

-- CNN correspondents Maria Hinojosa, Jeff Flock and Brian Cabell contributed to this report.


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