Thousands Spill Out On J&K Streets In Anti-US Protest
21 March 2003
The Asian Age
Srinagar: As anger over the US attack on Iraq mounted, huge crowds took to the streets across the Valley on Friday. At places, riot police fired teargas canisters and used bamboo sticks to break up anti-war protests. Besides Srinagar, Sopore, Magam, Budgam, Beeru, Pulwama, Charar-e-Sharief, Shopian and Anantnag witnessed street protests, clashes with riot police and traffic blockades. Around 10,000 people held a demonstration on the streets of Kargil, reports received here said. As the riot police came in the way of a protest in Srinagar's Maisuma locality, protesters retaliated by throwing rocks and other missiles at the policemen. The street battle spread to nearby localities and continued for some time. Protesters even torched effigies of US President George W. Bush. Kashmir's chief priest and founder chairperson of the Hurriyat Conference, Moulvi Umar Farooq, led a procession from the historic Grand Mosque to his party headquarters - the Mirwaiz Manzil - soon after Friday prayers. A large number of women also participated, raising slogans against the US, Britain and Israel. Earlier, during his weekly sermon at the Grand Mosque, Mirwaiz Umar condemned what he called the naked American aggression against Iraq. He expressed solidarity with the Iraqis and assured them that all peace-loving democratic nations rally behind them in this hour of trial. A group of veiled activists of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Faith) also held demonstrations here. 'Don't kill Iraqi children' was the favourite slogan among the protesters.