Archive for Sunday, March 30, 2003

Thousands rally for, against Iraq war

March 30, 2003


— Massachusetts rallies both for and against the war with Iraq included a "die-in" at Boston Common and patriotic songs near a military reservation Saturday in two of many demonstrations across the nation.

American flags, patriotic songs and chants of "U-S-A!" filled the air in Mashpee, down the road from a military reservation that is home to Air National Guard troops deployed to Iraq.

"This is not a war of conquest, it is a war of liberation," retired Navy Capt. Thomas Hudner told the crowd of about 2,000.

About 60 miles north at Boston Common, a police-estimated crowd of 15,000 protested the war. Nuns, veterans and students listened to speakers and musical acts before marching to Boylston Street for a "die in," during which they collapsed on the streets to dramatize war deaths.

Eric Weltman, one of the protest organizers, said it was intended to show opposition not only to the Iraq war but to potential U.S. action elsewhere.

"We're working now to stop the next invasion," Weltman said. "We've invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Who's next? Iran? North Korea? Colombia?"

In Harrisburg, Pa., the steps of the state Capitol were packed with flag-waving war supporters. Police said about 8,000 people showed up, while organizers put the number at 12,000.

"I knew that today we would show where America is at on this issue," organizer and radio talk show host R.J. Harris said.

In Miami's Little Havana, about 3,000 Cuban exiles and other Latin Americans chanted "Bush, Bush, Bush" as lawmakers voiced support for the war opposition to Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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