Anti-War Groups Throw Punches, Debris

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Anti-war protesters on Friday continued to live up to their promises to ramp up demonstrations against the U.S.-led "shock and awe" campaign.

Some experts said the demonstrations could compromise homeland security, however, particularly when the nation was on high alert.

"If it takes 30 to 40 police officers to keep order at a demonstration and arrest people for civil disobedience ... they're not out on the street looking for the bad guys," David Cid, a former FBI counterterrorism expert and current president of the Salus International security firm, told

"As we escalate this threat level, the public safety response is really to have a larger police presence on the street," Cid added. "Anything that takes away person-hours from that effort certainly can be problematic."

When the bombs started falling in Baghdad Wednesday night, anti-war leaders launched their own next phase of attack, which continued into Friday.

About 80 to 100 demonstrators were arrested in San Francisco Friday, where the most raucous demonstrations have taken place. Fourteen hundred people were arrested Thursday.

Protesters stalled firefighters trying to respond to emergencies. Firefighters and police used bolt cutters on protesters who had locked their arms together in metal sleeves.

One protester reportedly died after falling from the Golden Gate Bridge. Police are investigating it as a suicide.

"This is the largest number of arrests we've made in one day and the largest demonstration in terms of disruption that I've seen," Assistant Police Chief Alex Fagan Sr., a 30-year department veteran, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Roughly 1,500 of the police department's 2,300 officers were on street duty, the Chronicle reported, costing the city $500,000 in police overtime.

Often, police in riot gear would encircle the demonstrators, only to find themselves encircled.

"We're in a totally reactive mode," Deputy Chief Rick Bruce, head of the Police Department's special operations bureau, told the Chronicle. "We just respond to illegal activity. It's tough. They are moving faster than us."

Protesters blocked intersections, scuffled with police, broke windows and heaved newspaper racks and debris into streets. Some hurled rocks at commuter trains, briefly halting service at a station across the Bay in Oakland.

"We went from what I would call legal protests to absolute anarchy," said Fagan.

"I must express my frustration at the tactics of some protesters," Mayor Willie Brown said in a statement Thursday night, "who have chosen to specifically try to disrupt this city, rather than gather peacefully to voice their desire for peace, at the expense of the day-to-day lives of ordinary San Franciscans — and at great cost to the city."

As in San Francisco, police in Los Angeles and several other cities went on 12-hour shifts.

Twelve protesters in downtown Indianapolis faced court appearances Friday. Those arrested included eight of 13 people who entered the local offices of U.S. Sens. Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh, promising not to leave until the senators withdraw their support for the war. Both senators were in Washington.

In East Lansing, Mich., about 100 protesters, some of whom were chained together, blocked a main road near Michigan State University Friday. Five arrests were made and more were expected.

Protesters trashed the grounds around a northern New Mexico home owned by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, placing "No War" stickers and throwing children's clothes around the property.

On Thursday, protesters at Utah Valley State College were hit with a dozen raw eggs as they listened to a student read a peace poem. Campus police couldn't apprehend the culprits.

Portland, Ore., protesters smashed three windows at a McDonald's restaurant, set a flag on fire and sprayed graffiti on a sign at a Shell gas station. More than 135 people were arrested after police used pepper spray and explosives. A police spokesman said one cop was injured and received 10 stitches after a flying object hit him during a confrontation.

"I like the idea of shutting down commerce and the city to counteract Bush's economic motives for this war," said Eric Anholt, 19, of Portland.

Several thousand marchers snarled afternoon rush-hour traffic in Chicago, repeatedly breaking through lines of police on horseback or in riot gear.

In New York, more than 300 protesters snarled traffic in Times Square during the evening commute. Police arrested 36 people.

District of Columbia police closed down the Key Bridge in Georgetown Thursday after protesters on foot and on bikes jammed traffic.

"We're used to protests in the city and it's nothing that we haven't handled before," a spokesman for the Washington, D.C. police told

All demonstrations, particularly the disruptive and violent ones, drew attention away from other homeland security efforts, some experts said.

"I think it's almost certainly the case that people are being distracted by these activities," Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, told "To the extent that some of these people may actually try — as they have threatened to do — to be disruptive, that could actually cause an actual problem.

"More than just minding them, we've got to try to prevent them from doing harm. At [a] time of war, that can translate into aiding and abetting the enemy — that crosses a potentially important line."

Others contended that the danger posed by protests did not outweigh the demonstrators' rights to free speech and assembly.

"There has always been dissent, and dissent must be protected if American freedoms are going to be protected," Dave McFadden, chairman of the history department of Fairfield University in Connecticut, told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.

"It's a major feature of the Bill of Rights — freedom of speech — and it's been struggled [over] for many years," McFadden added. "Protecting that right is absolutely critical to protecting American freedom."

But McFadden acknowledged he though it was "wrong at the moment to commit civil disobedience."

Protesters were planning to infiltrate the coastal property of Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara on Saturday. Officials at the base said they will "shoot to kill."

Vandenberg launches polar satellites and tests ballistic missiles and top-secret surveillance and weapons guidance systems.

Other demonstrators have been supporting military action in Iraq.

"Support the U.S. or keep your mouth shut," said one sign in Mississippi.

"The debate is over, we've had the debate," Robert Strickland, an Army veteran, said as he waved an American flag in Louisville, Ky. "It's time to rally around our troops and rally around our leaders."

Army families in Fayetteville, S.C. tied a yellow ribbon around the "Liberty Tree" on Friday to show support for troops overseas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.