PORTLAND, Ore. – Protesters marking the third anniversary of the Iraq war made their voices heard across the world over the weekend, with the largest marches in London, Portland and Chicago, though in numbers that were often lower than in previous years.
About 10,000 anti-war protesters in Portland took nearly an hour to pass through downtown streets Sunday, some carrying signs that said "Impeach the Evildoer." No arrests were made.
"It is time now for you to take back your country," said Steven DeFord, whose son, Oregon National Guard Sgt. David Johnson, 37, was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb in September 2004.
In Louisiana, 200 war veterans, hurricane survivors and others gathered Sunday at the Chalmette National Cemetery to protest how the war had hurt the country's ability to help the Gulf Coast recover from last year's hurricanes.
"We attacked a country who never did anything to us," said Philadelphia resident Al Zappala, whose 30-year-old son was killed in Iraq in April 2004. "He was sent to Iraq based on lies."
About 200 joined a march Sunday down New York's Fifth Avenue, with signs including: "Resist the War -- Don't enlist." Nineteen were given summonses for disorderly conduct and released, police said. Saturday's rally drew more than 1,000 people.
More than 7,000 people marched through downtown Chicago on Saturday, saying the war diverts money from domestic needs and demanding the U.S. pull out of Iraq.
Many of the protests drew smaller-than-anticipated crowds -- far short of the millions who protested the Iraq invasion in March 2003 and the anniversary in 2004.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld answered critics of the war in a guest column in Sunday's Washington Post newspaper, asserting that if Americans were to turn away from Iraq now, it would be "the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis."
Outside America, protests on Sunday included a 1,000-strong rally in Seoul, where demonstrators urged the South Korean government to bring their troops home, and 100 protesters who marched on the U.S. Embassy in the Philippine capital of Manila.
Anti-war rallies in Japan drew about 800 protesters chanting "No war! Stop the war!" and banging drums as they marched peacefully through downtown Tokyo toward the U.S. Embassy. A day earlier, about 2,000 rallied in the city.
"The Iraq war was President Bush's big mistake and the whole world is against him," said organizer Ayako Nishimura. "Iraq must decide its own affairs."
In Malaysia's largest city, Kuala Lumpur, about 600 people protested peacefully, unlike a gathering last year when police used a water cannon to disperse demonstrators. In Tokyo, about 800 demonstrators took to the streets, after some 2,000 protested the day earlier.
In London, police said 15,000 people joined a march Saturday from Parliament and Big Ben to a rally in Trafalgar Square. The anniversary last year attracted 45,000 protesters in the city.
Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, a strident Bush critic, said world opinion is turning against the war as he offered some of his harshest criticisms of the U.S. president in months.
"The world is opposed to your war, Mr. Danger," Chavez said Sunday on his weekly television and radio program. He also called Bush a "coward," a "donkey" and a "drunkard."
Hundreds of anti-war protesters marched silently and carried symbolic caskets through the capital of Puerto Rico, led by the families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We wanted to do something simple, something so simple and solemn as a funeral march through our towns," said Wanda Colon, a spokeswoman for the coalition of more than 30 community groups that organized the march.
Bush marked the anniversary Sunday by touting the efforts to build democracy in Iraq. He avoided any mention of the continuing daily violence there and didn't utter the word "war."
"We are implementing a strategy that will lead to victory in Iraq," Bush said in a brief statement to reporters outside the White House.
In Reno, Nev., some 400 anti-war protesters were greeted by counter-demonstrators numbering 20 to 25. It was a reversal from three years ago when about 200 pro-military demonstrators crashed an anti-war protest, drowning out about 150 peace activists' hymns and speeches with chants.
Activist Cindy Sheehan, who energized the anti-war movement last summer with her monthlong protest outside Bush's Texas ranch, joined the Gulf Coast marchers in Mississippi on Friday, but left early Sunday for events in Washington.
"The support for this war has dwindled dramatically," she said Sunday. "The rest of America is on board with ending this war."