Entrances to the Internal Revenue Service were blocked by “war crime-scene” tape. Traffic couldn’t pass through parts of downtown. And families sightseeing near the White House shielded their children from a demonstration against torture.
On the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, as many as 1,000 people held marches, rallies, sit-ins and blockades throughout the nation’s capital. The demonstrations, organized by the nonviolent coalition United for Peace & Justice, were aimed at government agencies and private companies that promote, condone or profit from the war in Iraq.
In cities and at military installations across the nation, antiwar protesters gathered to mark the anniversary.
In Washington, more than 30 people were arrested for blockading three entrances to the IRS building, said Frida Berrigan of the War Resisters League.
While about 1,000 protested in Washington on Wednesday, larger rallies were organized in Chicago, New York and San Francisco.
Antiwar demonstrators gathered in downtown Chicago’s Federal Plaza on Wednesday evening for a rally and march. Organizers were expecting thousands of demonstrators.
At one event in New York City, women sang and counted the war dead outside the Times Square military recruiting station, which was recently the target of a bomb.
In Miami, half a dozen antiwar protesters dressed in black placed flowers outside the U.S. Southern Command during the morning rush hour.
In San Francisco, police arrested about 100 protesters by early afternoon for blocking traffic and chaining themselves to buildings, police said.
The rallies, which drew hundreds to the city’s busy financial district, were mostly peaceful, though some demonstrators threw glass Christmas ornaments filled with paint at police, said Sgt. Steve Mannina of the San Francisco police.
In Southern California, dozens of nighttime events -- called “New Priorities Vigils” -- were organized by MoveOn.org, a grass-roots organization that has been vocally antiwar.
“People want the troops to be brought home, and would rather have money invested to fix domestic problems than to fight the war abroad,” said Tiare White, a MoveOn.org member.
Events were planned in Beverly Hills, Echo Park, West Los Angeles, North Hollywood, Pasadena, Culver City and Malibu.
The Associated Press, Chicago Tribune and Times staff writer Tami Abdollah contributed to this report.