Anti-War Groups Protest in 37 States

Protesters across the country — from college students and senior citizens to clergy and veterans — carried signs, sang songs and offered themselves up for arrest to show their opposition to President Bush's talk of war with Iraq.

"There's a great diversity in the voices in the anti-war movement, but it boils down to one very simple message: No war in Iraq," said Danny Rose, 32, an administrator at a Washington, D.C., charter school.

The group United for Peace counted more than 120 vigils, acts of civil disobedience and marches Tuesday in 37 states from Alaska to Florida that resulted in numerous arrests. Some 150 people were arrested.

"Religious leaders understand that humanity is one, and that what war does is disfigure and destroy the human face, which is our face," said the Rev. Peter Laarman, one of 99 people arrested for disorderly conduct outside the United States' mission to the United Nations in New York.

World War II veteran Ray Kaepplinger was among 40 people picketing outside a Chicago federal office building as 20 others were being arrested in the lobby for criminal trespass. Kaepplinger, 84, said he had "been through the plume of hell in New Guinea" and didn't want to see another war erupt.

Seven were arrested among more than 150 demonstrators who gathered at the University of Texas in Austin and marched to a nearby Army recruiting office inside a mall.

In Sacramento, Calif., nine were taken into custody for blocking the entrance to a federal courthouse. "It's my first time ever," said Maria Cornejo, 41, a mother of four from Dixon, Calif. "That's how important this is."

In Oakland, Calif., 200 people picketed a federal building carrying signs saying "No Blood for Oil" and "War is Terrorism." And police in Hartford, Conn., arrested 14 people on charges of trespassing and interfering with officers.

Students at the University of Michigan set up a makeshift graveyard on a major walkway through the Ann Arbor campus, using cardboard headstones that read "Iraqi child" and "Iraqi man." About 100 students and faculty at Brown University in Providence, R.I., marched with signs and staged a "die-in" in front of the city's federal building.

Hollywood let itself be heard, as more than 100 entertainers signed a letter to President Bush stating that a war with Iraq will "increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks, damage the economy and undermine our moral standing in the world."

In the Mennonite community of Goshen, Ind., Sharon Baker, 64, and others gathered soap, bandages, towels and other items for relief packages to send to Iraq. "I'm opposed to any war, any time, anywhere, any place because war doesn't solve anything," she said.

The demonstration was described as "disturbing," by Glenn Null, of Goshen, who came to offer an opposing voice. He said he doesn't think the protesters take into account Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's actions against his own people.

The White House said the president welcomed the protests — which were timed to coincide with International Human Rights Day — as part of a "time-honored tradition" of democracy.

The day of protest also coincided with former President Jimmy Carter's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway.

"War may sometimes be a necessary evil," he said in his acceptance speech. "But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good."

In Sioux Falls, S.D., about 50 people gathered outside the federal courthouse for an anti-war demonstration organized by the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center.

One person held a sign that said, "All I want for Christmas is Peace."