- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 16 (UPI) — A largely peaceful throng estimated at around 200,000 people marched in downtown San Francisco Sunday in an encore of the previous day's massive protests against an anticipated war against Iraq.

Marchers of all ages and ethnic backgrounds moved in fits and starts through the chilly streets to the city's Civic Center Plaza where a smaller cadre of speakers called on the crowd to continue voicing their objections to what they see as an unjustified war.

"March on, and let your voice be heard," encouraged California State Assemblyman Mark Leno of San Francisco. "We will not let the war happen."

The march, the largest of the weekend in California, came a day after major demonstrations were staged across the United States and in Europe.

Another 200,000 protesters marched against the war Sunday in Sydney, Australia.

Police and the organizers of the San Francisco march estimated the size of the crowd at roughly 200,000. The San Francisco Chronicle estimated that it took the procession nearly three hours to hike down Market Street from Justin Herman to Civic Center as tourists, shoppers and street people looked on.

"If you're for the war, then go join the Army or Navy," one unnamed marcher told reporters. "If you are against the war, then get out here."

Signs and banners decried the possibility of a war, or touted a number of social causes. One banner dismissed the idea of a showdown with Saddam Hussein by declaring, "War is 'Sooo' Last Century."

While the march itself was peaceful, a few hundred attendees moved into the Union Square shopping district afterward where they squared off with riot police, some on horseback. An Abercrombie & Fitch store was vandalized, according to the Chronicle, and a half-dozen youths were chased off the stopped cable car they had clambered aboard.


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