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Asia Crisis

Thousands in UK anti-war protest march

LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - Thousands of anti-war protesters joined marches in Britain on Saturday to mark the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

They took to the streets in London and the Scottish city of Glasgow demanding that British troops pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the Stop The War coalition, which organised the marches, said that five years after the invasion of Iraq, the world had become "a much more dangerous place."

"Estimates suggest as many as one million people have died violent deaths as a result of the occupation of Iraq," spokesman Paul Collins said.

He said Prime Minister Gordon Brown was sending more troops to Afghanistan and claimed "this hidden war is fast becoming a disaster mirroring Iraq."

But the Foreign Office disputed Stop the War's conclusions. "In Iraq, there is clear evidence we are making steady progress, particularly in terms of security," a spokesman told Reuters.

"In Afghanistan NATO forces are winning the struggle against the Taliban," he added.

Organisers estimated that the London march had attracted up to 40,000 protesters. Police put the figure at 10,000. In Glasgow the demonstration attracted several hundred protesters. (Reporting by Paul Majendie, Editing by Sami Aboudi)

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