BERLIN (Reuters) - Several thousand demonstrators took to the streets of Berlin and other German cities on Saturday shouting "No Third World War" and urging the United States not to answer attacks on its cities with more violence.
Carrying banners reading "Enough deaths" and "No retaliation," the demonstrators gathered outside the Berlin city hall. Police said a few thousand were on the streets. Smaller protests were also held in Cologne, Bremen and Kassel.
The United States is widely expected to retaliate against Afghanistan, which is host to the Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, Washington's chief suspect in the attacks on U.S. landmarks which left more than 6,800 dead or missing.
"We are here because we are worried about the reaction of the United States. The attacks cannot be justified but we need to think about what the real causes were," said one demonstrator, carrying his daughter on his shoulders.
At a smaller protest of Afghanis in Berlin and their supporters, protesters waved banners reading "Please don't answer violence with violence" and "No bombs on Afghanistan."
Memories of Germany's World War Two destruction have fueled a strong pacifist movement in the country, although a poll due to be released on Sunday indicated 58 percent of those surveyed supported German participation in U.S. military retaliation.
However, the survey, due for publication in the weekly Der Spiegel on Sunday, also indicated that 72 percent of Germans feared that a military response to the attacks could escalate into war.