Bush Opponents Aim for Protest in London

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Nov 20 05:37:17 MST 2003

(The fact that Bush had to publicly
acknowledge protest really shows us
how effective they have been as the
world learns that millions of people
in the US, the UK and elsewhere are
coming out in protest against the
US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

(Cuba's significance in these events,
as a location Washington uses in an
effort to deny formal legal rights
for its captives being housed on
occupied Cuban territory highlights
the importance of Cuba solidarity
Don't miss the final paragraph <g>.)

Bush Opponents Aim for Protest in London
Associated Press Writer
LONDON, Nov 20, 2003
(AP Online via COMTEX)

-- Anti-war activists from across Britain traveled to
London Thursday for a march aimed at letting President Bush
know of their opposition to U.S.-British policies in Iraq.

Police said the heavy security deployed for Wednesday's
scattered protests against the president's state visit
would again be in place for the march, which organizers
hope will attract up to 100,000 people.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Trotter of London's
Metropolitan Police said a small minority of hard-core
activists could attempt to cause violence.

"While we expect the march to be peaceful in itself, there
will no doubt be elements who try to take advantage to
cause problems," he said.

"A number of well-known faces are about and we won't be at
all surprised if they tried some sort of concerted action
later today," he added.

On Wednesday, Bush's first full day as guest of Queen
Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, police often outnumbered
protesters who waved placards and chanted their demands
that Bush leave the country.

The crowds reached 500 to 600 outside the palace gates
Wednesday afternoon, police said. While the protests were
noisy, accompanied by whistles, drums and shouts, they were
generally peaceful. There were a few scuffles and police
said about 40 people had been arrested since the start of
the visit on charges that included theft, drunkenness and
drug possession.

Protesters remained outside the palace late into the
evening as the president and his wife, Laura, attended a
formal dinner there with the queen, members of the royal
family and dozens of eminent guests.

Opposition to the invasion of Iraq has been strong and
vocal in Britain, and many people are angry that Prime
Minister Tony Blair took the country into the U.S.-led
coalition against Saddam Hussein.

Thursday's march was to culminate in the planned toppling
of a mock statue of Bush in Trafalgar Square. Although it
is a weekday, with most people at work, the Stop the War
Coalition said that if there was only one anti-Bush event
people could support, "this is the one."

Gillian Siddons, a cook from Auchenblae in Scotland, was
already protesting Thursday morning. She stood near
Westminster Abbey, where Bush laid a wreath at the Tomb of
the Unknown Warrior, wearing a sign saying "Who wants
democracy Bush-style?"

Siddons, 52, said most British people "don't think his
style of democracy is what we want in Britain, and the
Iraqis certainly don't want it."

About 100 protesters, watched by a large contingent of
police, gathered opposite the entrance to Downing Street,
where Bush and Blair were meeting Thursday. Some wore
orange jumpsuits and masks to protest the detention without
trial of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The protests, which have been brewing for weeks, did not
appear to faze the president, who has said repeatedly that
he appreciates the freedom of expression that permits such
demonstrations. He made light of the opposition on
Wednesday, when he jokingly compared his situation to
American magician David Blaine's 44-day starvation stunt.

"It was pointed out to me that the last noted American to
visit London stayed in a glass box dangling over the
Thames," Bush told an audience of academics at the
Banqueting House in central London. "A few might have
been happy to provide similar arrangements for me."

By AUDREY WOODS Associated Press Writer

Copyright 2003 Associated Press, All rights reserved

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