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Global rallies protest possible U.S. war on Iraq

From Fran Lewine

Protesters gather in Washington on Saturday.
Protesters gather in Washington on Saturday.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Demonstrators gathered in Washington on Saturday to protest a possible U.S.-led war on Iraq with anti-war chants, placards and speakers chastising politicians.

In addition, similar rallies were planned and held in San Francisco, California, Chicago, Illinois, and cities in Mexico, Japan, Spain, Germany, South Korea, Belgium and Australia.

The organizers say Congress' Iraq resolution is illegal and U.S. President George W. Bush's threats of a possible war against Iraq do not represent the views of the American people.

Bush has described Iraq as part of an "axis of evil," a growing global threat because -- Bush has said -- Baghdad is developing weapons of mass destruction, biological, nuclear and chemical. Bush has demanded Iraq disarm itself or suffer consequences.

Iraqi officials have repeatedly denied developing or possessing such weapons.

Speakers and participants in the Washington rally were to include former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark; the Rev. Jesse Jackson; Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Georgia; Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of the Archdiocese of Detroit; the Rev. Al Sharpton, actor Ossie Davis and singer Patti Smith.

One spokesman said the rally is a rejection of what Bush pushed on Congress and Congress rubber-stamped.

Dozens of organizations and individuals have endorsed Saturday's march and rally.

Anti-war activists plan an anti-war referendum as well, with signed petitions and votes via computer on the Web site An additional rally is scheduled in Washington in January followed by a "People's Peace Conference" to be attended by representatives of organizations that are backing the anti-war effort.

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