Anti-war protesters evoked images of the '60s in rallies from Washington to San Francisco on Saturday as supporters of the U.S.-led military offensive also took to the streets chanting "U.S.A., U.S.A."
Thousands of protesters chanting "Hey, hey, ho, ho, George Bush has got to go!" gathered Saturday across from the White House for a peace rally and march. In Yorba Linda, Calif., about 200 people clutching red, white and blue balloons gathered in front of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace to display their support for the attack on Iraq.In Fayetteville, Ark., police formed a line to separate opposing groups who faced off in rallies at the federal building. A group supporting U.S. military policy chanted "U.S.A., U.S.A." as a coalition called Northwest Arkansas Citizens Against War marched toward them carrying a flag-draped coffin and a banner that read: "Bring Them Home Alive."
Few arrests were reported as of Saturday afternoon. Nearly 1,800 protesters have been arrested in the United States since war broke out, including more than 200 Friday.
About 3,000 demonstrators gathered on Boston Common to call for an end to the war, while 200 counterdemonstrators waved American flags at the nearby Statehouse.
Betty Sganga, 44, drew a roar of approval when she declared, "This is the silent majority. Bring them home quickly, safely. God bless America."
In San Francisco, a crowd estimated by police at up to 20,000 people - organizers put the number two to three times higher - walked two miles from Mission Dolores Park to the Civic Center. They chanted anti-war slogans and waved signs, many reading "Stop the Killing" or "No Blood for Oil."
A biplane flew over, trailing a banner reading "Desert Storm - Support Our Troops." Many booed as it circled overhead.
There were no arrests. But more than 1,100 people have been arrested in San Francisco during sometimes violent demonstrations since war broke out.
Peace activist Ron Kovic, whose life was depicted in the movie "Born on the Fourth of July," told a crowd of about 6,000 in Southern California that he was wounded in Vietnam and paralyzed from the waist down 23 years ago Sunday.
"This war began on that most difficult week, the week that reminds me always of the cost of war," he said after leading the crowd in chanting "Peace Now!"
In Washington, the atmosphere was reminiscent of the '60s as Beatles music played through loudspeakers for demonstrators carrying placards and signs that declared: "George, You're Still a Wimp" and "Fight AIDS, Not Iraq."
"As someone who was in Vietnam when demonstrations started, these work," said Jim Driscoll of Tempe, Ariz., co-chairman of the Veterans Task Force on the Persian Gulf.
U.S. Park Police estimated the crowd at 25,000.