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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Strike On Iraq: Reaction to War from Home, Abroad

Aired March 20, 2003 - 17:44   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The start of the war, of course, hasn't done anything to dampen protests in the United States against military action or rallies in support of it for that matter. CNN's Maria Hinojosa, in New York -- she's at Times Square. She's following the latest developments on that front -- Maria.
MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN URBAN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, even this horrible weather has not daunted the fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of people have now poured in to Times Square. There are heater (ph) marches coming in from it looks like so many different streets all across Manhattan.

I ran into a group of high schoolers that were coming from downtown, members of the Union Theological Seminary that were coming from uptown, publishing executives who were coming from midtown. They are all coming here. It's hard to tell because there's really no one place for them to congregate, so they're kind of really just moving around Times Square.

The police have now moved in with lots of vans, lots of horses, telling them that they're going to be arrested if they block traffic. So I'm suspecting that, sooner or later, we will be seeing some arrests here in New York City.

Now, across the country, many similar actions. We know that in Boston, many of the students poured out of the universities and campuses, and they were marching across the Charles River.

In Washington, D.C., starting very early in the morning, there were people who were gathering at the White House and in other areas of Washington, D.C., kneeling in prayer and some acts of civil disobedience.

And in San Francisco, there was a plan to stop business as usual. And so many of the protesters, thousands of which came out to the streets, but many of them decided to go into civil disobedience. They were chaining themselves to bike racks, and they were going to literally have to be sawed off from those bike racks.

Now, on the other side, of course, there were many others who decided that they needed to come out and support this war, not just support the troops, as many of the anti-war demonstrators say they also do. But these demonstrators wanted to come out and say they are supporting this war, that they believe that this is the correct action that the president has taken, and they want President Bush to know so. Now, many different people, though, had a lot of different feelings about what this war has meant to them. Let's hear from some of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened to Osama bin Laden? You know, last year, we were chasing down Osama bin Laden. We still don't have him, so now we shift our focus to Saddam Hussein.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I take kind of mixed feelings. I mean, you know, we're sending people to die, in some respect. And then, in some respect, it's a necessary evil. I mean it has to be done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Irregardless of my views on the president, I support our troops, and God bless them over there, and best of luck in whatever goes on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HINOJOSA: Now, many are of the anti-war organizations say that they have activities planned across the country tonight in small towns like Birmingham, Alabama and South Bend, Indiana. And some anti-war groups have actually decided that the position they are going to take is by sending letters to the troops. That's "Win Without War" that's asking their constituents to write letters to the troops to tell them that they support them, even though they're against this war -- Wolf.

BLITZER: CNN's Maria Hinojosa in Times Square, New York. Thanks very much, Maria.

There have been protests around the world today against the U.S.- led strike on Iraq. In Egypt, hundreds of people clashed with police as demonstrators tried to get to the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

It was a similar scene in South Korea with thousands of anti-war demonstrators protesting near the U.S. embassy in Seoul. They demanded the South Korean government withdraw support for the U.S. effort to oust Saddam Hussein.

And in Rome, flag-waving protesters blocked the city's center. Demonstrations also were held in other major Italian cities, and the country's three major labor unions have called for a strike.

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