- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 18, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — Protesters marched through the streets of several cities yesterday to call for an end to the funding of the Iraq war or the immediate return of U.S. troops.

Demonstrators converged in San Francisco, New York, Portland, Ore., and elsewhere to mark the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and call on President Bush to heed what they said was the will of the people.

In largely peaceful demonstrations, about 3,000 people in San Francisco closed Market Street, a major downtown thoroughfare; in New York, more than 1,000 protesters converged on a park near the headquarters of the United Nations.

Dozens of police in San Francisco on foot and motorcycles blocked traffic and kept an eye on the crowd, which stretched for blocks through the financial district. No arrests were reported.

In New York, where union members, representatives of the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow-PUSH Coalition, war veterans and others joined the demonstration, the procession stretched for several blocks.

Actor Tim Robbins, among the speakers at the rally, organized by the New York chapter of United for Peace and Justice, told the crowd that getting Congress to cut off funds for the war “would be a good way” to get the troops home.

“The American people want this war to end,” Mr. Robbins said. “That’s the message they sent last November in the election. When are we going to start listening to them?”

Police lined sidewalks, and some walked ahead of the protesters as they marched toward the offices of Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrats.

Demonstrators carried signs reading “Impeach Bush” and “Not one more dollar, not one more death.”

In Portland, Ore., thousands of marchers packed a grassy stretch downtown to call for an end to the war.

At the end of the march, a small group of protesters left the route and continued walking. Police followed them, and a scuffle ensued, with police using pepper spray. At least two persons were detained.

President Bush was at Camp David in Maryland for the weekend. Spokesman Blair Jones said of the protests: “Our Constitution guarantees the right to peacefully express one’s views. The men and women in our military are fighting to bring the people of Iraq the same rights and freedoms.”

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