U.S. News

More than 100 arrested in Iraq protests

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Police arrested more than 100 Iraq war protesters in San Francisco and New York City on Monday as the nation marked the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

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Uniformed police outnumbered the fewer than 100 protesters outside the stock exchange building at the corner of Broad and Wall streets in New York’s historic financial district.

“Stop the money, stop the war,” demonstrators chanted as police hauled away limp-bodied protesters.

A police spokesman said 44 were arrested.

Demonstrators said they were directing their protest at major defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Halliburton, General Electric and others. The protest had no impact on the stock exchange’s trading.

“U.S. service members and Iraqi civilians are dying so that an elite few can profit,” said Fabian Bouthillette, 26, a high school teacher who served for two years in the U.S. Navy.

In San Francisco, dozens of demonstrators, many of them old enough to have once protested the Vietnam War in the 1960s and early 1970s, conducted a “Die In” by lying on the sidewalk and pretending to be dead. Some wore fake blood to recall the more than 3,200 U.S. military personnel killed in the Iraq War.

Many later moved to obstruct Market Street, running through the city’s central business district.

“As soon as they went out there we started making arrests,” police spokesman Neville Gittens said. “They were warned.”

Another spokesman said police arrested 57 people in two separate San Francisco locations.

Polls show most Americans now oppose the war in Iraq, yet without a military draft like that which helped focus public opposition to the Vietnam War, public protests have been far smaller than they were in that era.

Thousands have, however, rallied against the war in recent days nationwide, including in the Washington D.C. area, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Additional reporting by Edith Honan in New York