Wednesday 19 November 2003

Fortress London braced for anti-Bush demos

His Holiness the Emperor George has landed. All hail George. All hail George. All hail George. All hail George. All hail George. All hail George.

Just kidding, all I can say is:

YANKEE GO HOME!!!! If a US president needs to come here and have lunch with Liz just to make himself more popular at home then you know that the world has gone screwy.

See you all in London tomorrow for the demo.

The first demonstrations against George Bush's state visit to Britain were already under way last night as Air Force One, the presidential jumbo jet, landed at Heathrow.

London got an early taste of the next two days' demonstrations when up to 600 people marched noisily on the US embassy in Grosvenor Square to protest at Mr Bush's refusal to sign up to the Kyoto global warming treaty.

Michael Meacher, the former environment minister, told supporters of the Campaign against Climate Change that Mr Bush was ignoring the biggest single challenge facing humanity. "What we resent so strongly is the selfishness of US foreign policy. Human sur vival depends on sharing power. What you do will affect all of us."

Stephen Tyndall, director of Greenpeace, accused the president of "selfish, lethal, immoral" policies and pandering to the oil industry.

As Scotland Yard moved to clarify the number of police officers involved - saying 14,000 shifts would be worked by officers during the controversial state visit, rather than that number of officers being on duty - responsibility for the huge operation passed to the Metropolitan police's "Gold Commander", Michael Messenger. According to the Met, Mr Messenger is one of the world's most experienced officers in managing city-wide public order and security operations.

Demonstrations against the visit have been planned for each day, but the biggest will be tomorrow with a march and rally organised by the Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Great Britain and CND. Organisers hope more than 100,000 protesters will march past Parliament and up Whitehall for the rally in Trafalgar Square.

A police spokesman said 5,123 officers would be on duty tomorrow to deal with any potential threats to security and help relieve traffic congestion.

Full story...

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