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Protesters pick up pace in S.F. and other cities

SAN FRANCISCO — Undeterred by mass arrests, raucous bands of demonstrators marched through the streets of San Francisco on Friday in the largest of anti-war protests around the country.

Smaller groups elsewhere demonstrated in support of U.S. troops.

"We will sustain this for many days. This is really just the start," said Jamie Hurlbut, an office worker who joined protesters blocking downtown San Francisco traffic Friday after eight hours in police custody Thursday.

"I literally went to sleep and came back out to hit the streets again."

From demonstrations near the White House to a march through downtown Boulder, Colo., from candlelight vigils to traffic disruptions, anti-war demonstrations continued as U.S. troops marched toward Baghdad.

The numbers of arrests were down markedly from Thursday, when police made more than 2,000, including more than 1,300 in San Francisco. By Friday afternoon, more than 350 people had been arrested in demonstrations around the nation, including about 220 in San Francisco, 65 in Chicago and 26 in Washington, D.C.

At a Columbus, Ohio, rally to support U.S. soldiers, several hundred people brought shaving cream, toothpaste and other supplies for the troops.

Many anti-war demonstrations focused on federal buildings, including a few dozen who gathered outside the federal building in Seattle, and the offices of U.S. senators, including Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman in Hartford, Conn., and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clintonin New York.

Three anti-war demonstrators were arrested as they tried to enter the Nashville, Tenn., office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

In the nation's capital, about 100 people gathered outside a park near the White House. Atop the stroller of 2 1/2-year-old Margot Bloch, her mother, Nadine, had written: "Be nice. No hitting. Peace now."

Smaller groups of protesters staged "die-ins" at major intersections near the White House, lying down and drawing chalk lines around their bodies, or smearing fake blood on themselves.

Fake blood was also tossed Friday in Lawrence, Kan., where a man dressed as Uncle Sam stopped traffic as he dribbled red liquid on mock victims lying in the street.

At a federal courthouse in Baltimore, about 45 people were arrested after blocking a driveway. University of Maryland students staged a mock "funeral for democracy" in nearby College Park and about 70 protesters waved anti-war banners before trying to enter the building. When security guards blocked them, they dropped to the damp ground to simulate war casualties.

"We are mourning the deaths of innocent Iraqis who have no responsibility for anything their government may have done," said Ellen Barfield as she lay on her back in the grass.

Two side-by-side rallies, one attacking and the other defending U.S. policies, were held in Pittsburgh's downtown Market Square. Printer Bryan Reiter and co-workers left the job for a pro-U.S. rally, and held a sign that read: "War is evil, but sometimes it is the lesser of evils."

In Boston on Friday, a five-week peace march culminated with a 200-person rally on City Hall Plaza.

"It's more important than ever that we continue to walk and pray and raise our voices against this war," said Sister Clare Carter of the Buddhist Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Mass., where the march started Feb. 16. "If we give in to war, there really is no hope."

As many as 500 protesters targeted the northern New Mexico farm owned by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday, pulling down an American flag and erecting anti-war signs. There were no arrests.

Larger anti-war demonstrations and vigils, as well as rallies to support the troops, were scheduled in many major cities for Saturday.

Though most of the Thursday protests were peaceful, even festive, some demonstrators scuffled with police and splinter groups broke windows and heaved newspaper racks and debris into some streets. By Friday police vowed to be more aggressive in controlling the crowds.

"We went from what I would call legal protests to absolute anarchy," San Francisco Assistant Police Chief Alex Fagan Sr. said. Police there said they spent $450,000 containing the demonstrations.

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