Anti-war demonstrators, carrying body bags to draw attention to the 93 American servicemen killed in accidents relating to Operation Desert Shield, marched around the U.S. Capitol yesterday, shouting, "No blood for oil! Bring our troops home!"

The protest, planned to coincide with the swearing-in ceremony for new members of Congress, is the first of several anti-war rallies planned in Washington this month, including two marches that organizers expect to draw thousands from around the country.

The anti-war effort, supported largely by church, student, minority and women's groups, is becoming increasingly vocal against U.S. policy, which members say is provoking a shooting war in the Persian Gulf and stealing scarce dollars from domestic social programs.

"We see no real interest on Bush's part for negotiation. We believe that the momentum for war is now so high that it is very difficult to stop," said Jim Stewart, a spokesman for the Washington Area Coalition to Stop U.S. Intervention in the Middle East, which organized yesterday's Capitol protest.

About 35 members of the coalition carried a dozen white body bags tagged "Killed in Action," and a huge black banner listing names of U.S. servicemen killed in Desert Shield accidents. The march caused a minor commotion around the congressional office buildings, with some visitors and bystanders joining the anti-war procession, but it did not affect the swearing-in ceremony in the Capitol.

Many of the protesters said yesterday they had personal reasons for their anti-war activism. Joy MacDonald, of Potomac, said she saw the horror of war while living in London during the Blitz in World War II. Don Tobey, a District resident, said he was protesting "because I have six grandchilden" who could get caught up in the conflict. And Richard Manning, of Baltimore, said he joined the rally because "my son is in the Navy, in Saudi Arabia, and I don't want anything to happen to him."

Peace activists say that it is harder to mobilize an anti-war effort when war is still only a threat and no shots have been fired. "But if we wait, it'll be too late," said MacDonald. "When they are already fighting, it's hard not to support our troops. The time to stop this is now."

More than 100 buses have been chartered for Jan. 19, to bring protesters from 80 cities for what is being hailed as a "National March on the White House," according to organizers. The following Saturday, students from more than 100 campuses across the country, along with scores of church and other groups, are to descend on Washington for another march condemning the U.S. buildup in the Middle East.

Efforts to unite the two marches failed, because as the peace movement grows, members have become increasingly divided on philosophy and goals.

The Jan. 19 march is sponsored by the National Coalition to Stop U.S. Intervention in the Middle East, whose spokesmen include former attorney general Ramsey Clark, human rights activist Dick Gregory and D.C. Council member Hilda H.M. Mason (Statehood-At Large). That group refuses to condemn Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and does not support the use of economic sanctions. On the other hand, the leaders of the Jan. 26 march do condemn Iraq's action and would maintain sanctions but exempt food and medical supplies.

"It's too bad about the division {in the peace groups}," said Edward H. Elkind, a District resident and member of the Washington Area Coalition, which will join in the Jan. 26 march. "Now we'll have a contest for whose {march} is bigger."

Many of those protesting the war buildup say the cost is too high at a time when housing and welfare programs are being cut.

In the last two days, five members of the Community for Creative Non-Violence, which operates the largest District shelter for the homeless, also were arrested at the White House for anti-war protests. CCNV spokesman Cliff Newman said his group plans to infiltrate a White House tour to kneel in prayer or throw blood on White House grounds to protest the U.S. military policy. "Homelessness is dramatically rising while we are helping a foreign monarchy with their oil fields," Newman said.