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Administration foes step out statewide
Seattle Times staff reporter
Scores of anti-war activists, environmentalists and high-school students marched from the University of Washington campus to Capitol Hill and then to downtown Seattle Thursday, berating President Bush for everything from his management of the Iraq war to the handling of Hurricane Katrina.
Across the state, more than 250 related demonstrations were held, including rallies in Bellingham, Everett, Tacoma, Olympia, Wenatchee and Spokane, said organizers of the National Day of Mass Resistance. They said protests also were held as far away as Switzerland and Nepal.
In Seattle, police arrested three protesters for investigation of obstruction, resisting arrest and assault in connection with "some kind of altercation with officers at the scene," said police spokeswoman Debra Brown. Officers said one man carried a rifle wrapped in a blanket to a rally at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill.
Overall, authorities called the rallies peaceful. Demonstrators did cause traffic congestion around 4 p.m. at the Federal Building in downtown Seattle, where the protest was to end at midnight with a sit-in.
In Seattle, protesters bashed Bush for his policies on the environment, abortion and in Iraq and Afghanistan, and criticized his administration for its hard stance against Iran and North Korea.
Conspiracy theorists also were on hand, accusing the administration of dynamiting levees in New Orleans and being complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The rallies were organized by activists calling themselves The World Can't Wait, which called on students to walk out of class to join the protest. Dozens of high-school students, saying they were from Seattle, Woodinville and Vashon Island, joined in, holding "Impeach Bush" banners and "Drive out the Bush regime!" signs.
Event spokeswoman Maggie Lawless acknowledged principals and parents might be upset that some students cut classes but added, "It's a bigger sacrifice to not take a stand."
In Olympia, where a small group of protesters gathered on the Capitol lawn, Kenn Dzaman, 47, wore a "Got Fascism?" T-shirt and called Bush a "lunatic." Dzaman worries what will happen to the world if more people don't speak up.
"If you do not get off your couch and put on your walking shoes, there's something wrong," said Dzaman. "People need to wake up and start telling how they really feel."
Seattle Times staff reporter Ralph Thomas contributed to this report.
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