Antiwar protesters rolled through cities across the nation on Wednesday in a series of largely peaceful, and sometimes subdued, marches on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
While there were more than 140 arrests in San Francisco and more than 30 in Washington, attendance was lighter and the acrimony more muted than at protests in the early years of the war.
In San Francisco, where an estimated 150,000 people took to the streets in 2003, about 500 protesters roamed early Wednesday, many in costume and chanting amid the clamor of a makeshift marching band. In the evening, a larger crowd marched peacefully outside City Hall.
While the banners and bullhorn rhetoric were strident, the mood among some was pessimistic.
“The war is not going to end,” said Bob McGee, 67, from Livermore, about 50 miles east of the city. “It doesn’t matter who wins the election. The only thing that’s going to stop it is the destruction of the economy.”
Across the bay in Berkeley, the antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan spoke to about 100 people in front of a Marine recruiting station, the site of a recent fight between those on both sides of the war. But there, too, protesters seemed less full-throated than in the past.
Adam Beach, 40, said he and his wife had opposed the war from the beginning, but conceded that he felt discouraged. And, he added, “those feelings are shared by a lot of people.”
In Washington, 32 people were arrested outside the I.R.S. after they crossed police barricades and tried to block an entrance. Small numbers of arrests were also reported in Syracuse, Hartford and Chicopee, Mass.
Many of the day’s protests were so calm that some people brought their children.
“I feel like there’s more and more dissent, even in Congress, but I’m not so sure that I trust them to represent the people’s will,” said Stephanie Alston, 33, who brought her 9-month-old daughter, Calliope, to the San Francisco march. “And it’s already five years too late.”
//new york times//