- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 23 (UPI) — Thousands of Iraqis and foreign peace activists demonstrated in Baghdad Thursday to protest against U.S. war threats and the military build-up in the Persian Gulf.

The demonstrators proceeded down a major street in central Baghdad shouting, "No to war, yes to peace."

The demonstrators stopped in front of the offices of the U.N. Development Program where they burned U.S. and Israeli flags and held up Iraqi and Palestinian ones together with pictures of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Members of the Iraqi leadership and the ruling Baath Party joined the demonstrators and urged Arab governments to declare their solidarity with Iraq.

Among those taking part were Westerners and foreign Arabs who said they had come to Baghdad to act as human shields to prevent the war, which Washington has threatened Baghdad with to force Saddam to divert himself of suspected weapons of mass destruction in line with U.N. resolutions.

Hundreds of European and U.S. peace activists have visited Iraq in the past few weeks and taken part in protests denouncing U.S. and British war threats.

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