War protesters arrested in S.F. 

More than 50 protesters were arrested Monday, the fourth anniversary of U.S. war with Iraq, after they blocked traffic at two intersections on Market Street during a staged "die-in."

Fifty-six protesters were taken to San Francisco County Jail where they were cited and released for failing to obey a traffic officer and blocking traffic, police Sgt. Steve Mannina said.

Marking the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war on Monday, anti-war activists listened to speeches at the Federal Building on Golden Gate Avenue and held a candlelight vigil at Justin Herman Plaza. A rambunctious crowd of a few hundred people held roving protests along Market Street during the day.

At 1 p.m., more than 40 protesters moved into the intersection at Market and Montgomery streets, lay down and refused to move. About 10 bus lines had to be rerouted because of the demonstration, a spokeswoman for the Municipal Transportation Agency said.

Police arrested 45 people for blocking traffic, Mannina said. Most protesters were calm, but some refused to stand and were carried to the police vans. San Francisco resident Steve Leeds smiled into the camera and said, "Photo op," when police took his mug shot.

One of the first people arrested was Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who helped author the Pentagon Papers, later releasing the study to The New York Times.

About 100 protesters continued south on Market Street, chanting "We want justice for Iraq now," and dancing to a mobile five-piece band.

Police arrested another 13 people for blocking the intersection at Market and Powell streets, Mannina said.

Hundreds turned out for a separate rally outside the Federal building at 450 Golden Gate Ave., home to the office of U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, to object to an appropriations bill that will pay for the war that the House of Representatives is to vote on this week. Joined by local politicians, such as Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, the gathering was generally peaceful.

However, 11 people were eventually arrested, according to federal authorities, after they went into Pelosi’s office and refused to leave. Two were Iraqi war veterans and the remaining were family members of military personnel, according to Judith Ross, who was arrested. They were cited with creating a disturbance and released within two hours, accordingto authorities.

"It’s a weak way of political posturing to give the impression that Congress is following the American sentiment," Ross said of the bill.

In 2003, more than 2,000 people protesting the start of the war for three days were arrested in The City for blocking the streets of the Financial District.

Staff writer Joshua Sabatini contributed to this report.

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