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Demostrations in Beijing call for end to war
( 2003-03-31 08:49 ) (1 )

Hundreds of protesters from home and abroad attended three demonstrations in Beijing Sunday to protest the US-led invasion of Iraq.

About 200 foreigners gathered in the capital's embassy area in the morning. About the same time, a total of 150 Peking University students convened on campus, displaying photographs of wounded Iraqi civilians and passing out pamphlets criticizing the war, Xinhua reported.

Starting at 7:30 am, the foreign contingent gathered in eastern Beijing's Ritan Park. Just after 9:00 am, the protesters set off from the park to protest outside the US embassy.

Nick Young, one of the organizers, said the local public security authority had given permission for the activity but limited the number of marchers to 150.

From a dozen countries including the United States, Britain, Germany, Spain, Egypt and Syria, they are either working for foreign businesses in China, or foreign students or members of non-governmental organizations.

"I have asked the opinion of more than 100 foreign people who are working in Beijing about the war," said Robert Farr, a Briton who has been working in China for four years. "All but one said they oppose the war."

Carrying placards with anti-war slogans written in Chinese, English and Arabic, the peaceful march lasted about 40 minutes under the close watch of police.

After arriving at the US embassy, protesters shouted "Stop the war" and "No more war."

"I think the citizens of a country have a right to correct the actions of their government," said Rebecca Cooper, 23, who held a placard above her head saying "American against the war."

The university action was organized by the graduates and students' associations and lasted for about three and a half hours, Xinhua said.

Dozens of students flew streamers bearing slogans and erected four exhibition boards where pictures and articles about the war in Iraq were displayed.

Zhou Si, vice-president of the students' association, said the protest was organized via the campus' online network on Saturday night.

A third, smaller demonstration - which comprised more than 100 protesters - was also held in Chaoyang Park early yesterday afternoon.



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