(AFP) - Thousands of people marched in Oslo late Thursday after US President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize with a speech justifying war, urging him to live up to the accolade.
More than 6,000 people marched in a peaceful, torchlight procession aimed at denouncing nuclear weapons and which ended up outside Obamas hotel in the Norwegian capital, police and organisers said.
Some of the demonstrators carried banners reading No to Nuclear Weapons or bearing peace symbols.
Another 3,000 protesters took part in a demonstration organised by the Norwegian Peace Initiative, calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan, controlled arms trade, a halt to nuclear weapons and the end of Israeli settlements.
Yes, Yes, Yes We Can, Stop the War in Afghanistan, they chanted.
We are here to give Obama a push so that he acts in the spirit of the Peace Prize, that he takes concrete measures to stop the war in Afghanistan, one of the organisers for the Norwegian Peace Initiative, Benjamin Endre Larsen, told AFP.
He also urged Obama to implement rules to control the arms trade, pursue nuclear disarmament at a quick pace, and pressure the Israeli government so that the settlements stop on the West Bank.
Thousands of curious onlookers thronged the streets around the hotel in the hopes of catching a glimpse and maybe a photograph of the US president, many of them families with young children, amid Norways biggest ever security clampdown.
All day Thursday, military choppers swarmed over Oslo and snipers stood guard on rooftops. Anti-aircraft missiles were deployed near the airport and around Oslo, manhole covers were sealed and up to 2,500 police were on hand to protect Obama.
We reject the ideology of the governments and the Nobel Peace Prize Committee that gave the award to somebody who actually is escalating the violence in the Middle East, American peace activist Cindy Sheehan, who was invited to Oslo by the Norwegian Peace Initiative, told Norwegian television earlier Thursday.
The speeches were telling us that the only way to peace is through war, and we have to reject that, she said, referring to Obamas and Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jaglands prize ceremony speeches at Oslo City Hall earlier in the day. This (demonstration) is to encourage him to act, said Alyn Ware, an activist from New Zealand who was awarded this years Right Livelihood Award, often dubbed the alternative Nobel, for his work towards nuclear disarmament.
It is not to criticise Obama completely, but just to say, live up to the vision.
Youre being given this Nobel peace award, youve talked about non-violence, yet you are still involved in a war in Afghanistan, he told Norwegian television.
Earlier Thursday, Greenpeace activists pushed Obama on a climate deal and Italian protesters also contested a US base being built outside Venice.
Obama was to take part in the traditional banquet in the laureates honour at the posh Grand Hotel on Thursday evening, and was scheduled to leave Oslo on Friday morning.