War protesters take to streets in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson
PHOENIX - Some people brandished signs, others chanted political slogans, and a few even formed a human traffic barricade as anti-war protests kicked off across Arizona.
Hundreds of people demonstrated in Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson on Thursday, the second day of the U.S.-led assault in Iraq. About 30 people were arrested during at least three of the protests.
Police in Flagstaff arrested 21 people, some of whom had chained themselves together, after they collapsed in a downtown intersection during rush-hour.
Flagstaff police said the protesters snarled traffic at the intersection along Route 66 for a half hour. Many of the protesters were cited for blocking a thoroughfare, a misdemeanor, said police Sgt. Gerry Blair.
The demonstration started with more than 200 protesters marching through Flagstaff, chanting and carrying signs with anti-war messages.
In Tucson, a gathering of about 300 anti-war demonstrators and a handful of people supporting military action in Iraq diverted downtown traffic. About two dozen police officers responded in riot gear for crowd control. Eight people were arrested there on a misdemeanor charge of failure to comply with a police officer.
In Tempe, where hundreds of protesters turned out, police arrested one man on suspicion of disorderly conduct after he allegedly spit on a restaurant window.
In central Phoenix, a throng of protesters flashed peace signs and chanted ''Support our troops, bring them home,'' at a major intersection.
''We want to raise awareness,'' said Seth Pollack of Phoenix, who identified himself as a Gulf War veteran. ''A lot of citizens who are opposed to war think they're alone in questioning the government. We wanted them to know that they're not.''
Pollack held a red, white and blue cardboard sign that read: ''No Iraq war.'' Other protesters held signs reading, ''War causes terrorism'' and ''Support for Dubbya, support for terrorism.''
Karen Bayless Feldman said she would rather have the government spend the money being used for the war to pay for education and health care.
''They haven't given me a good enough reason for us to go to war,'' said Bayless Feldman, who was accompanied by her 18-month-old daughter and 5-year-old son. ''They're talking about weapons of mass destruction, but don't we also have weapons of mass destruction? I'm confused by the hypocrisy.''