Police arrest dozens of US anti-war protesters
Washington, Mar 21: Dozens of US anti-war protesters were arrested in demonstrations marking the third anniversary of the Iraq war, while others denounced President George W Bush during an appearance in Cleveland.
Pentagon Force Protection Agency police arrested 51 people on misdemeanor charges of failure to obey a lawful order during a demonstration outside the Pentagon, Defense Department spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said yesterday.
The protesters were arrested after trying to get past a fence that had been set up to mark out an area for their demonstration, Irwin said. Those arrested were taken to a nearby building and given citations and court appearance dates before being released, Irwin said.
Police in San Francisco said they arrested 17 people from among a small group of anti-war protesters who blocked traffic on the city's central Market Street.
Protesters, some in clothing similar to that worn by Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail, carried antiwar signs and chanted slogans. Some wore black hoods similar to those seen in photographs depicting abuse at the US-run prison in Iraq.
''While the US claims to bring democracy and freedom, it is actually using torture and secret detention camps to instill fear and suppress dissent around the world,'' said Sasha Wright, one of the event's organizers.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the hotel where Bush spoke to the City Club of Cleveland, carrying signs stating, ''Bring our troops home now'' and ''Bush incompetent failure.'' Inside the hotel, Bush told an audience that he understands that the continuing violence in Iraq has shaken the confidence of some Americans but vowed not to abandon Iraq.
Public concern over the war has pushed his popularity rating to the lowest of his presidency.