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More than 100 arrested in antiwar protest

A protester is arrested Tuesday outside an Army National Guard recruiting station in Washington.
A protester is arrested Tuesday outside an Army National Guard recruiting station in Washington.

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Actor Martin Sheen and other celebrities protest what they consider a looming threat of war with Iraq. CNN's Charles Feldman reports (December 10)
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Police arrested more than 100 people Tuesday, including ice cream magnate Ben Cohen and Pentagon Papers source Daniel Ellsberg, during one of several demonstrations around the country against a possible U.S. war with Iraq.

Another antiwar protest took place in Washington, where about 200 people demonstrated. And in California, a coalition of celebrities released a letter calling on the Bush administration to rethink its confrontation with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Protesters used International Human Rights Day on Tuesday to demonstrate against possible U.S. military action against Iraq if it refuses to abide by U.N. resolutions calling for it to disarm. The Baghdad government repeatedly has denied possessing weapons of mass destruction.

In front of the White House, about 50 protesters huddled together in the cold, hopping from foot to foot, chanting, "This oil war has got to go," Reuters reported. Drivers honked in support in rush-hour traffic, the news agency said, and a poster said: "Be a patriot -- question the war monsters."

Actor Mike Farrell led a group of celebrities who presented a public letter to Bush protesting the threatened military action.

In a news conference Tuesday with several other Hollywood activists, Farrell warned that the Bush administration is trying to "ballyhoo" Americans into supporting a war with Iraq.

"A presumptive military invasion of Iraq will harm American national interests," he said. "Such a war will increase human suffering, arouse animosity toward our country, increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks, damage the economy and undermine our moral standing in the world. It will make us less, not more, secure."

Retired Rear Adm. Eugene Carroll, deputy director of the Center for Defense Information think tank and one of the signers of the letter, said preparation for war has "a momentum of its own."

"We've got the United Nations doing exactly what they were designed to do -- what we want them to do," Carroll said. "For God's sake, let's take 'yes' for an answer and end this march to war."

In New York, demonstrators marched from U.N. headquarters to the U.S. mission. Police said they arrested 107 people for blocking sidewalks outside the mission, and none of the protesters resisted as they were taken away one by one.

Among those arrested were one of the protest's organizers, the Rev. Herbert Daughtry; Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry's ice cream; and Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who leaked to reporters the extensive history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam that became known as the Pentagon Papers.

Rick Grinell, a spokesman for the U.S. mission, said that Washington hopes Iraq will agree to disarm peacefully but that the international community is united in giving Saddam one last chance to do so without war.

"We think these individuals have a right to their opinions, and we want to protect that right," Grinell said. "We also want to remind them that the U.S. is a leader in protecting human rights around the world."

At the White House, spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "The president welcomes peaceful protests -- it is a time-honored tradition. The president agrees violence is not the answer in Iraq, and that's why he hopes Saddam Hussein will disarm."



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