NEW YORK – Anti-war demonstrators plan to dramatically ramp up their protest tactics when the shooting begins in Iraq, with a range of action that runs from the humorous to the dangerously illegal.
Protesters say they will block federal buildings, military compounds and streets in what they consider appropriate acts of civil disobedience. Others plan to walk out of college classes, picket city halls and state capitols.
"People will step up their actions, there will be active civil disobedience," said Simona Sharoni, of United for Peace in Thurston County, Wash.
Organizers claim acts of civil disobedience have been planned in more than 50 cities.
"When you get to the point that the war actually begins, that's a point when many ... feel they have to take the strongest action they can personally take," said Gordon Clark, national coordinator of the Iraq Pledge of Resistance.
But some groups plan more dangerous and illegal action.
Anti-war activists in the San Francisco area have drawn up list of protest areas that includes 70 economic and other targets in that city alone, including power plants, water systems, the Federal Reserve, oil companies, the Pacific Exchange and the Transamerica Building.
"The bare bones of the plan is to basically shut down the financial district of San Francisco … we basically unplug the system that creates war," said organizer Patrick Reinsborough.
Elsewhere, protesters plan to block traffic at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., and sit at the gates of Truax Field in Madison, Wis., which houses state guardsmen.
Others will train to breach security at Camp Vandenberg Air Force Base north of Santa Barbara, Calif., and vandalize some of its equipment, according to reports. Protest leaders describe the military base as "the electronic nerve center" for some military operations.
Base authorities said they would use deadly force if necessary to keep the base secure.
The No Blood for Oil campaign, meanwhile, wants protesters to converge in Times Square in New York City around 5 p.m. on Wednesday and in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington — where five different actions are scheduled to disrupt activity.
The anarchist Black Bloc — which organizes for a particular protest action and first showed up in the United States to protest the first Gulf War in 1991 — will reportedly lead demonstrators in carrying out those actions. The group caused major disruptions and damage during anti-globalization riots in Seattle and other cities in recent years.
Other groups like Not in Our Name, United for Peace and Justice and International ANSWER are planning walkouts and other events the day after the war starts.
Others prefer less disruptive protests. In Baltimore, anti-war protesters plan to wash off an American flag splashed with red paint and oil to symbolize the blood that could be shed in war. A vigil in Ann Arbor, Mich., will include Christian, Jewish and Muslim prayers. And students at Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania, will lower campus flags to half-staff, among other events.
Counter-demonstrators will also be in force, voicing genuine solidarity with the troops.
Michigan State's College Republicans will rally to back President Bush and the troops. Their counterparts at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York will hand out American flags.
In some cases, the anti-war rhetoric will take a lighter tone.
Activists in Columbia, S.C., plan to poke fun at the government's homeland security directives to homeowners by plastering a federal building with duct tape and plastic sheeting. In Portsmouth, N.H., protesters plan to make noise by banging pots and pans.
Tim Kingston, a spokesman for the San Francisco-based Global Exchange, said civil disobedience and other disruptive tactics would likely stir more resentment than sympathy.
But, he says, "What else are we supposed to do? Sit and say nothing ... and be silent? That's not very American."
Fox News' Liza Porteus and Dan Springer and the Associated Press contributed to this report.