- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2003

Anti-war protesters took to the streets in cities across the nation yesterday in reaction to the U.S. military strikes against Iraq.
Protests were staged in the District, New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis and other cities. Rain apparently diminished the enthusiasm in the District, where about two dozen people demonstrated at Lafayette Square in front of the White House midafternoon. Sponsors had a parade permit for 500 to 1,000 participants.
"All over the world, people are protesting," said demonstrator Hussein Agrama, 45, a graduate student and D.C. resident who came to the United States from his native Egypt when he was 2.
Last night, a wall of police officers lining barricades kept protesters out of Lafayette Square, so they blocked the intersection of 17th and H streets NW.
Officers on horseback backed up those on foot.
The group had marched down Connecticut Avenue NW from Dupont Circle, blocking the southbound lanes.
In San Francisco, an estimated 1,000-plus anti-war activists chanted and blocked the streets, and hundreds were arrested as they skirmished with police at the start of a major civil disobedience campaign against the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
"Stop the bombing" and "No war for oil" protesters chanted as they lay down in intersections, causing traffic jams; tied themselves to utility poles; or bound themselves together with plastic cable to prevent arrest.
Police arrested protesters for resisting police and "violent behavior" in the city's downtown. Most were expected to be cited and released.
Washington-area police arrested three persons yesterday. Arlington police charged demonstrators with obstructing justice as more than 100 protesters blocked traffic at 8 a.m. across the Key Bridge and several threw a traffic barrel in front of a police cruiser.
Erica Wagner, 25, of Brookville, Md., was subdued with pepper spray after shoving an officer, police spokesman Matt Martin said.
Also charged were Wade Fletcher, 25, of Woodbridge, Va., and a juvenile female.
About 50 demonstrators bicycled through downtown Washington carrying signs that said, "Bikes not bombs."
Probably the biggest demonstration in the region was at Montgomery Blair High School, north of Silver Spring, where more than 2,000 students walked out about noon, then marched and chanted around the school.
Officials said they would be charged with unexcused absences if they didn't return. Then the doors were locked. A couple dozen boarded the Metro at Silver Spring to meet other high school protesters from the District, Virginia and Prince George's County at Judiciary Square in Northwest.
Becky Levy, 16, of Bethesda Chevy Chase High School, said all Montgomery County high schools were to participate in the protest called "Students for Peace and Justice," which had been planned for more than a week.
"My parents support me," said Miss Levy, a high school junior.
The students, some with slogans inked on their faces, joined adult protesters near the Capitol and the White House.
Elizabeth Greenberg, 17, a Bethesda Chevy Chase senior with "peace" inked across her face said of her parents, "They support me cautiously. They basically said, 'Go ahead. Just don't get arrested.'"
Meanwhile, in Nevada, the war received support from hundreds of flag-waving veterans and others gathered outside the state's legislative building in Carson City to back U.S. military personnel deployed to Iraq.
In New York, protests in Manhattan drew about 300 people yesterday, and about 30 people gathered in heavy rain in Atlanta just before midnight, quietly holding signs that read, "War is not the answer."
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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