ANTI-war protesters daubed red paint on York's Mansion House and other council buildings to symbolise the blood of those being bombed in Iraq.

Members of the York Painters for Peace squirted the removable paint on the steps of the Lord Mayor's official residence and hung a placard on the front door which read: "York Painters for Peace bringing the horror of war to your city".

There were similar attacks on City of York Council buildings in St Leonard's Place and George Hudson Street.

Coun Viv Kind, deputy leader of the council, condemned the attacks as "irresponsible".

"I'm very disappointed by this," she said.

"I'm against the war myself but can't condone action taken against public buildings, particularly the Mansion House which belongs to the people.

"It won't achieve anything."

The sign pinned to the Mansion House door The sign pinned to the Mansion House door But a group member, who wished not to be named, said the paint symbolised the blood being shed in an attack at a similar site in Iraq.

"We want to draw attention to the level of killing and destruction happening in Iraq and for people to imagine the impact it would have if a missile had hit a similar building in York," he said.

"That is the reality of what we are doing to people in Iraq - for U.S. economic interests and to save face for British politicians."

The group has vowed to continue with the offensive throughout the duration of the war.

Meanwhile, more than 60 anti-war protesters carried out a peaceful march across the city followed by a heavy police presence.

The campaigners had gathered at St Sampson's Square where they held a five-minute silence to remember those servicemen killed during the conflict.

They were heckled and sworn at by four men who were then moved on by police officers.

Several campaigners descended on York MP Hugh Bayley's headquarters in Holgate Road, where they debated the Iraq issue with him.

Protesters were denied access to York Railway Station, so shouted anti-war chants in the forecourt before moving off.

A protest against plans to increase student debt in York was joined by people condeming the war.

Hundreds of students from York St John College went on strike to raise awareness before a debate with the president of the National Union of Students and City of York MP Hugh Bayley.

Others later had their say when school children and York University students gathered outside the gates protesting against the war.

George Brichieri, York St John Students' Union president said: "We are not doing this for ourselves, but for our brothers, sisters, friends, and all those who will want to study in the future. But besides this, we think the issues of education and war are linked, in that the government is prepared to find all this extra money for war, but refuses to find it to support our education."

Pupils of Canon Lee School, York, gathered outside the gates and gave Mr Bayley an impromptu theatrical performance against the war as he left the debate.

Mr Bayley said: "I am greatly encouraged by the fact that you all have opinions, and that you want to express them. But you also have the freedom to do that in this country, a freedom the children of Iraq just don't have."

Students at a Pickering Secondary School staged an anti-war protest yesterday.

Pupils at Lady Lumley's School, waved placards on the school field during the latter part of the morning and early afternoon.

Head teahcer Norman Corner, said: "One or two residents were offended and there are one or two things I have to deal with in terms of consequences, but it was generally a peaceful protest." Students were back in lessons by 2pm.

Demonstrators were aiming to fill the air with foil today in an effort to block the US spy base at Menwith Hill.

The protest, called Foil The Base, was expected to attract opponents to war in Iraq from across the country.