Yemenis Clamor To Fight For Iraq

Protestors mainly from leftist and Islamic parties, including the militant Hezbollah group, hold an anti- U.S. and British banner during a demonstration in the main street of the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon, Wednesday, April 2, 2003.
The largest protests against the war in Iraq Wednesday were again in the Middle East.

Some 20,000 Yemenis demonstrated against the war in Iraq on Wednesday, with thousands calling on their government to let them to go to Baghdad to fight for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

On the other side of the Arab world, more than 10,000 Lebanese and Palestinians protested the war in the south Lebanese port city of Sidon, chanting "Death to America!" and "Death to Britain!"

In the fifth mass rally in Pakistan in a month, demonstrators burned the U.S. flag and effigies President Bush on Wednesday to protest the U.S. war in Iraq.

Police said more than 30,000 people turned out for the demonstration in Quetta, a southern city near the Afghanistan border, which was organized by hardline Islamic political parties.

About two dozen students outside the Foreign Ministry protested Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to Ankara Wednesday, chanting "Murderer, murderer, get out of Turkey!" About five minutes before Powell arrived for the round of meetings, police detained all of the protesters.

Protesters at an anti-Iraq war rally chanted, burned an American flag and broke into occasional scuffles with each other in Sydney, Australia, Wednesday. A heavy police presence was evident after last week's protests where students and other protesters attacked police with chairs, bottles and eggs.

Outside South Korea's parliament, hundreds of anti-war activists waved "Stop the War" signs as they kicked, punched and hurled water bottles at riot police in Seoul, while inside, lawmakers authorized the dispatch of non-combat troops to support the war.

Police beat back the protesters with plastic shields. At least two demonstrators were injured, blood streaming down their faces.

In Yemen, about 3,000 protesters marched through the capital San'a to the Iraqi embassy, where they applauded the Iraqi resistance against U.S. and British troops and called on the government "to open the door for holy war."

"With our blood and soul, we defend you Saddam," the protesters chanted in front of the Iraqi embassy. Some waved their passports and shouted: "From San'a to Baghdad!"

One protester, Salim Ahmed Mohammed, 26, said he had registered with the Iraqi Embassy to go to Iraq. He was asked to pay about $150 for a ticket to Damascus, Syria, from where he plans to travel overland to Iraq, he said.

Mohammed said he saw a thousand names on the registration list.

In Sidon, Lebanon, Lebanese and Palestinians protesters waved Iraqi flags and shouted slogans against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah II as they marched throught the city.

Mubarak and Abdullah have tried to distance their governments from the invasion of Iraq, but they are also close allies of the United States. Jordan has allowed U.S. troops into the kingdom to train its soldiers in the operation of Patriot anti-missile batteries. Mubarak has allowed U.S. and British warships to transit the Suez Canal on their way to the Gulf.

In a smaller protest, about 300 Palestinian children, aged 6 to 10, demonstrated outside United Nations House in downtown Beirut on Wednesday.

One of the children read a letter addressed to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, which demanded U.N. intervention "to halt the massacres committed against the Iraqi people and children under the pretext of liberating Iraq."

To the chants of "God is Great," protest leaders in Quetta, Pakistan said U.S. and British forces will face defeat in Iraq.

"Like Afghanistan is proving a graveyard for Americans, Iraq will be a graveyard for British and U.S. forces," said Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani, the head of Muthaida Majlis-e-Amal, or United Action Forum, which organized this and the previous protests.

It was the smallest of the demonstrations, optimistically dubbed a "Million Man March," that have taken place in Pakistan's largest cities since March 2. Past rallies drew well over 100,000 people each.

The march filled the business district of this town with demonstrators shouting praises for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein; for Osama bin Laden, the fugitive leader of the al Qaeda terrorist network; and for Mullah Omar, leader of the ousted Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Although Pakistan is an ally of the United States in its war against al Qaeda and the Taliban, the organizations remain popular with supporters of the hardline parties. The government has called for a peaceful solution and an immediate end of the war, but without criticizing the Bush administration.