(10-05) 14:24 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Hundreds of people shut down westbound Market Street this afternoon in a protest against the Bush administration and the war in Iraq.
Protesters said they want President George Bush out of office and American troops out of Iraq, and many carried signs, wore T-shirts and chanted slogans such as "Impeach Bush" or "Bush get out."
The group began with a noon rally at Justin Herman Plaza and then marched up Market Street to Civic Center Plaza, where they planned to turn around and head back down to Justin Herman for another rally.
This afternoon, no arrests had been reported, and the march appeared to be peaceful.
Attendees ranged from high school students who said they had ditched class to attend the rally to bearded older men. One man carried a sign that read, "Citizens with portfolios against the war."
"We believe the Bush regime should stay out of Iraq and end the occupation. We should worry more about helping people around the world instead of fighting for oil," said Sonya Guadalupe of Berkeley, summing up the statements of many marchers. "I'm not a radical, I'm just concerned about the kind of world my daughter will live in."
The organizers, World Can't Wait -- Drive Out the Bush Regime, planned demonstrations today in 150 cities across the United States and in Canada and Switzerland. At least 70 of the demonstrations were being held in "red" cities -- those that lean conservative poltically, organizers said.
Word of the protests has largely spread through Internet -- including a social gathering spot on MySpace, as part of a push to recruit younger people. In the Bay Area, the group has distributed flyers at some high schools, telling students to "stay in school if you like Bush."
The group saw a surge of support from red states, and $100,000 in donations, after taking out ads last month in USA Today and the New York Times, national coordinator Debra Sweet said.
It's the second time the organization has staged national protests: in November 2005, there were demonstrations in 70 cities. Ten people were arrested at the San Francisco protest, which attracted about 2,000 people. One of the 10 suspects was allegedly found carrying several Molotov cocktails after such a device was thrown at The Chronicle's building.
The World Can't Wait's founders included supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party, but in the past year the list of backers on its Web site has grown to 24,000 names. They include actors Sean Penn, Olympia Dukakis and Mark Ruffalo; writers Studs Terkel and Alice Walker; state Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco; and Bay Area "protest mom" Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004.
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