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Antiwar Protests Mark Iraq Anniversary --> About 500 demonstrators protested outside the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm on March 18 (epa) March 18, 2006 -- Antiwar activists across the world today marked the third anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq with protest rallies and marches.

The U.S.-led campaign to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Operation Iraqi Freedom, began on March 19-20, 2003.

The gatherings today were generally smaller than expected.

In London, about 15,000 people joined in a march to Trafalgar Square. Speakers called for a withdrawal of coalition troops from Iraq, saying the fighting could spread to neighboring Iran.

Protests were also held in Tokyo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Sydney, and elsewhere.

Antiwar marches in South Korea and Malaysia are planned for March 19.

(Reuter, DPA)

Boots On The Ground

RFE/RL correspondent Ron Synovitz with U.S. troops in Iraq in March 2003 (RFE/RL)

THE SOUND OF THE GUNS: In the days just before and after the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom on March 19-20, 2003, RFE/RL worked hard to cover the unfolding conflict. RFE/RL correspondent RON SYNOVITZ was embedded with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team in the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division as it crossed the border from Kuwait and drove deep into Iraq. Synovitz stayed with the U.S. troops through mid-April, covering the battle for Baghdad and the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Listen to Synovitz's report from the Iraq-Kuwait border on March 18, 2003 (about four minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media

Listen to Synovitz's report from March 19, 2003, just hours before the 3rd Infantry Division began to cross into Iraq (about three minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media

See also:

Embedded RFE/RL Correspondent Recalls War's First Day

RFE/RL correspondent CHARLES RECKNAGEL also covered the beginning of the war from Kuwait and Iraq. Here are some links to his reports:

Iraq: Desert Dispatch -- The View From Kuwait

Kuwait: Desert Dispatch -- Kuwait City Under Constant Air-Raid Alerts

Iraq: Desert Dispatch -- Correspondent Crosses Iraq Border

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: To view an archive of RFE/RL's coverage of the beginning of combat operations in Iraq, click here.

RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.