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Tens of Thousands Turn Out for Anti-War Rallies Nationwide

Tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators, spanning almost a dozen blocks, marched down Broadway on Saturday in a fresh cross-country protest drive against intensified war on Iraq. Military backers also showed their support in cities around the country.

Carrying peace signs and donning costumes, demonstrators streamed toward New York's Washington Square Park.

"I believe if you really want to show 'shock and awe,' you should show love and justice," said Bob Edgar, an officer at the National Council of Churches.

Police estimated the crowd at midday at 40,000, but within an hour said it climbed considerably higher. March organizers United for Peace and Justice said the size was closer to 100,000. No arrests were reported.

Carol Laverne wore a pair of angel's wings and carried a sign saying "Thou shall not kill."

Susan Sonz and her 9-year-old son, Ruben, came to the march from their home near the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the 2001 terrorist attack. The boy carried a sign saying, "Ground Zero kids against the war."

"We don't want to see more innocent people die," Sonz said.

Some celebrities joined in, including actors Roy Scheider, Ossie Davis and Rudy Dee, and singer Patti Smith.

"We support the troops, but we do not support the president," said Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., a Korean War veteran.

About 2,000 police were assigned to the rally, including undercover officers with beeper-sized radiation detectors and other counter-terrorism measures. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly surveyed the march from 35th Street.

"Things are peaceful and moving fairly quickly," he said.

In Washington, several hundred protesters, chanting "No blood for oil," strode through the streets and rallied in front of the White House. Their pink and orange signs read "No war against Iraq" and "Money for unemployment, not war."

In Lansing, Mich., war supporters rallied at the state Capitol with American flags. Patriotic music rang out, and the crowd of hundreds chanted "USA."

Backers of the American military also converged on a baseball stadium in Millington, Tenn., home to a military base, to voice support for the troops.

At the stadium, Ricky Hunt held a poster with an 8-by-10 photograph of a young Marine he knows in Iraq. He also slung a Marine Corps flag over his shoulder.

"We're really tired of all the protesters. I don't understand them. I think they ought to remember where they got their freedom," Hunt said.

Anti-war protests were planned Saturday for Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities. Rallies to show support for U.S. troops also were planned.

Abroad, thousands of angry protesters from Japan to Greece again marched against the war. Some denounced their governments for backing the United States.

Since the outbreak of war, peace demonstrations have spread to dozens of American cities large and small in one of the widest outpourings of anti-government protesting in many years. Anti-war activists have blocked traffic, sat in at federal buildings, prayed at somber candlelight vigils, and laid down on sidewalks to symbolize the war dead.

Mostly smaller counterdemonstrations have sprung up too, appealing for support of the invasion or U.S. troops.

Nearly all protests have been peaceful, though scuffling with police broke out on a few occasions. More than 3,000 arrests have been made, usually as police tried to clear streets and keep buildings open.