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Violent clashes amid global demos

A puppet of U.S. President George W. Bush is carried through the streets of Rome, Italy.
A puppet of U.S. President George W. Bush is carried through the streets of Rome, Italy.

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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- With the U.S.-led war in Iraq moving ahead full-throttle, people opposed to the conflict pressed their cause in rallies around the world this weekend.

In Australia, as many as 50,000 people gathered in Sydney on Sunday in a rally to protest against the war in Iraq and Australia's decision to commit troops to the conflict. (Australians rally)

The Sydney demonstration followed three straight days of similar protests in the southern city of Melbourne.

Though the protesters disrupted traffic, they were peaceful unlike some of the demonstrations elsewhere in the world.

In Madrid, Spanish police clashed with war protesters for a second straight night Saturday after more than 100,000 people in a mile-long march caused traffic jams in the center of the city.

Clashes during protests Friday and Saturday in Madrid left about 80 injured. Police prevented the crowds from marching on the prime minister's residence.

War protests drew even larger crowds in Barcelona, and were held in 21 other Spanish cities.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar is a strong supporter of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, but polls show Spaniards are overwhelmingly opposed to war.

In Brussels, hundreds of demonstrators rallied outside the U.S. Embassy, which police guarded behind barricades. Some wore jackets saying, "We don't want your capitalist war."

One man carried a sign saying, "Monica, keep Bush busy as well," an apparent reference to the White House intern involved in a sex scandal with former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

"Non a la guerre" ("No to the war") was printed on signs carried by protesters in Paris. Police estimated the crowd there at about 80,000 people, slightly fewer than rallies in recent days. A Friday poll showed 97 percent of the French people supported the French government's opposition to the war.

Hundreds of people in Moscow marched and laid rows of plastic bottles filled with a dark fluid, labeled "oil," in a street.

The British capital saw one of its largest-ever antiwar demonstration ever. A march that began along the River Thames grew as it moved to Hyde Park in central London, eventually numbering about 200,000 people, police said.

London protest
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon are the focus of protests in London.

A large number of students joined the demonstrators, many skipping school to do so. Newspaper polls show a majority of Britons are opposed to the war, despite Prime Minister Tony Blair's staunch support of Washington.

In Rome, the environmental group Greenpeace joined demonstrations. Activists raised a banner protesting Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's support of the war in Iraq.

At the Vatican, in his first public comments on the issue since the military attacks began, Pope John Paul II told employees at a Catholic television station, "When war, like the current conflict in Iraq, threatens the fate of humanity, it becomes especially important to say in a strong and decisive voice that peace is the only way to build a more egalitarian and unified society. The threat of violence cannot solve man's problems."

The protests were not limited to Europe. A small but vocal crowd gathered in India's capital and shouted their support for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. They also condemned the leaders of the United States, Britain, and Pakistan.

People also demonstrated against the war in Mumbai.

In Taiwan Saturday, protesters carried signs saying in English, "War is not the answer," "No blood for oil," and "No CNN."

Hundreds marched through Santiago, Chile, carrying an image of Uncle Sam and an American flag with a large swastika drawn on it. The crowd stopped in a plaza, joined hands, and held them aloft in a unified gesture.

In the United States, large demonstrations swept through the cities of San Francisco, New York, Washington and Chicago on Saturday -- some on favor of the war and others against. (Full Story)

A New York police source estimated more than 200,000 people participated in the march, with placards backing the pro-U.N. weapons inspectors line taken by France's President Jacques Chirac.


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