(The verdict is in! Scroll below for an update on the St. Patrick’s Day Four trial.)

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied on Saturday in Washington and other US and European cities to demand the withdrawal of US troops in some of the largest antiwar protests since the invasion of Iraq more than two years ago.

In DC, protest organizers estimated a crowd of about 200,000 rallied at the Ellipse, then marched around the White House and along Pennsylvania Avenue. Police put the crowd count at about 150,000. Elsewhere, marches took place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Paul, Florence, and Madrid. In London, British police said around 10,000 people took to the streets, while organizers put the figure at nearer 100,000. A small rally was held in Paris, and in Rome dozens of demonstrators held up peace flags outside the US Embassy.

Among the rally speakers in Washington was the Rev. Jesse Jackson who compared Cindy Sheehan to such icons as Rosa Parks and Helen Keller and urged the audience to follow her example and stay involved in the peace movement, saying: “When you march, things happen. We’ll change the Congress in 2006 and take back the White House in 2008.” (Thanks to BradBlog, you can click here to hear Jackson as well as other rally speeches by Sheehan, George Galloway and Cynthia McKinney.)

For live reporting from DC, listen to Laura Flanders’s Air America radio show. (Also listen to Flanders interview poet Sharon Olds who declined Laura Bush’s invitation to join her at a book fair and explained why in a Nation magazine article.) Link TV is also running re-broadcasts of the rally and subsequent concert on the mall. And click here to support United for Peace and Justice’s ability to keep up the antiwar momentum of the moment. Finally, watch TheNation.com for reporting from the DC march coming soon and use the comments section below to let us know about any antiwar events that took place outside of Washington.

Saint Patrick’s Day Four Acquitted of Conspiracy; Guilty of Lesser Charges

Members of the Saint Patrick’s Day Four–Clare and Teresa Grady, Peter DeMott and Daniel Burns–were acquitted in federal court in Binghamton, NY today on their most serious charge of “conspiracy to impede an officer of the United States” after more than seven hours of jury deliberations. The jury found them guilty of lesser charges including damaging government property and trespassing, both misdemeanors.

The courtroom erupted in applause as the verdicts were read. Representatives of the defendants said later they consider it a victory that they were acquitted of the conspiracy charge. Jurors deliberated about 90 minutes this morning, after deliberating for about six hours Friday. Sentencing for all four is set for January, 2006.

Click here for background on the case and watch TheNation.com later today for a full report of the trial and the significance of the verdict.