NEW YORK - Anti-war protesters on Wednesday predicted "literally millions" of people in New York, San Francisco and more than 30 international cities would march the weekend of Feb. 15 against war in Iraq.
A day after President Bush said in his State of the Union address that he was ready to disarm Saddam Hussein's Iraq, organizers brought politicians, church leaders and Oscar-winning filmmakers Jonathan Demme and Mercedes Ruehl out to announce the protest.
"We can, when we stand up together, actually stop this war from happening," said Leslie Cagan, a co-chairwoman of New York's United for Peace and Justice chapter.
Cagan wouldn't predict how many people would attend the New York demonstration, but said it would be the largest protest against Iraq to date.
Peace rallies on Oct. 26 drew 250,000 participants around the world, while tens of thousands rallied in Washington on Jan. 19 to protest the Bush administration's stance on Iraq.
The city has not yet provided a permit for the event, and Cagan said organizers were negotiating a march that would go past the United Nations.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, NAACP chairman Julian Bond, Martin Luther King III and performers Harry Belafonte, Mos Def and Danny Glover will be among the speakers, Cagan said.
San Francisco will stage a protest on Feb. 16, and more than 30 cities from London to Tokyo to Johannesburg would hold similar rallies, she said.
"Literally millions of people will march in countries around the world in a unified call for peace," she said.
Ruehl compared the intent to declare war on Iraq to giving "massive doses of chemotherapy with all its devastating effect to a body that hasn't been proven to have cancer."
Councilman Bill Perkins, whose cousin was killed in the World Trade Center attack, said declaring war in Iraq is not the right response to U.S. terrorism.
"This war should not be fought in my name," Perkins said.
United for Peace: http://www.unitedforpeace.org
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press