US war protesters decry Saddam's execution

Small groups of Americans opposed to the Iraq war and the death penalty decried Saddam Hussein's execution, and the center headed by one of the former dictator's lawyers said the hanging was part of a plan by President George W. Bush to escalate the war. The small rallies Saturday in New York's Times Square and in Boston, led by a group affiliated with former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, were among several condemnations of Saddam's hanging. Activists in Detroit also planned their own demonstration. Clark, who leads the New York-based International Action Center and was one of Saddam's defense lawyers, predicted during the Iraqi leader's trial that a bloodbath would follow if he was executed. In a statement faxed to The Associated Press, the center said his hanging was part of a plan by Bush to escalate the war. "The execution of Saddam Hussein is a clear sign that the Bush administration is looking not to negotiate a way for the US to leave Iraq, but is instead sending a signal that it will continue the war and escalate it despite the impending disaster," the International Action Center said in a written statement.