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Hundreds of Thousands of Protesters Decry Bush Visit in Week of Resistance

Hannah Sassaman, Philadelphia Independent Media Center | 21.11.2003 00:12 | Bush 2003 | Globalisation | Indymedia | Social Struggles | London

Summary of independent and commercial news reports on convergence and demonstrations surrounding George Bush's visit to UK. Reprinted from

Hundreds of Thousands of Protesters Decry Bush Visit in Finish to Week of Resistance – Summary of Commercial and Independent News Reports

Hannah Sassaman, Philadelphia Independent Media Center

While Americans prepared to challenge the Free Trade Area of the Americas meetings in Miami, Florida on Thursday, at least 200,000 British people marched in protest of the United States President George Bush's formal state visit to the United Kingdom.

The permitted march, the climax of three days of coordinated events challenging United States imperialism in Iraq and around the world, bore many similarities to the anti-FTAA march in Miami. Police restricted the movements of protesters as they marched through the streets of Central London, after convening at the University of London. Officers dressed in riot gear, riding horses, strictly enforced the agreed-upon route of the march. There were at least 14,000 police on the streets, hemming in march participants, although organizers reported high spirits and a strong sense of solidarity among protesters and marchers.

Throughout the week, according to organizers in London, activists were targeted as part of the Metropolitan Police Force's 'special security operations'. The Forward Intelligence Team, a subset of the Metropolitan Police Force, regularly followed organizers leaving from the London Action Resource Centre, photographing individuals and following them to their homes, days in advance of any actions in London. 'That tactic that is used a lot in the UK, and that happened today also,' said an Indymedia organizer, contacted over IRC.

Commercial media reports noted that the high point of the march came when protesters toppled an effigy of the President at London's Trafalgar Square. The statue, painted bronze in an attempt to inspire comparisons with the US-orchestrated toppling of a Saddam Hussein statue in Iraq near the 'end of major combat' earlier this year, fell to a chorus of hundreds of thousands of cheers.

Instances of direct action successfully interrupted the pomp and circumstance of Bush's visit to the UK. The BBC reported that in Scotland, the Scottish Parliament was suspended after a protester dressed in a George Bush mask shouted anti-war slogans from the public gallery during a debate on Iraq. UK-IMC reported that Colin Powell most likely canceled a medal ceremony appearance due to the demonstrations (

Anti-Bush activity bloomed in many cities across the country this week, ranging from the complete shut-down of the Cardiff city center ( to a rush of the American consulate in Edinbugh (

Hannah Sassaman, Philadelphia Independent Media Center
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Respect from Oz

21.11.2003 00:48

Respect and more power to you all who took to the streets against Bush, we had a much smaller protest here in Perth Aust. when Bush was in Australia recently but the sentiment is all the same, we are globalised by love, respect and Unity while Bush and his coalition are globalised by greed, money and WMDs(who has the most heh, USA). Good to see the fires of dissent have started lets keep the fanninf the flames and stop Bush and the coalition from whitewashing the planet into doing what they want.

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solidarity from Oz

21.11.2003 07:57

Good onya all over there in the UK and the USA. You are heroes.
Down with fascism.


Low key cops

21.11.2003 18:36

I went on the entire march and didn't see any riot police. In fact the policing seemed fairly low key though I've know doubt there were loads standing by, hidden up side streets etc.

The march was definitely very big - a historic day for the UK. The media, whilst not ignoring this and other protests, is trying hard to twist reality, making out this visit was was positive for Bush. I guess he got some good, stage managed photo shoots.

The Samba band was totally fab - ended in Trafalgar Square to chants from the crowd: "Samba is the future!"

77 people arrested the media are saying.


Low key coppering

22.11.2003 20:52

In agreement with Dancer, the policing was low-key - no more so than outside the US Embassy where some of us accidentally turned up at while en-route elsewhere in the evening - not an additional copper in sight, and no additional security than usual. So much for the biggest security operation ever, and none of the riot police sleeping off the night before lurking in Kenning Van Hire's around every corner like there are on May Day. So just what were these millions of quid spent on if it wasn't plods on the ground ????


police nasty away from mainstream cameras

25.11.2003 15:01

policing was generally low key but in side streets and where mainstream media was not congregating it did, as always get heavy handed. I saw a vanload of police mobilised to intimidate and harass a middle aged couple who had just come out of a theatre in Haymarket to see a random bloke wrestled to the ground and kneeled on like a trophy by two coppers having apparantly done nothing. The couple were frightned and concerned and wanted to make sure he was ok, but all these cops surrounded them and pushed them away so they couldnt see, along with myself and one or two others. They wernt even protestors, but they will have gone home shocked and outraged. A very well to do looking young woman was also among the concerned, and may well have had her views on the police changed. There have also been reports of physical attacks on female sambistas when the band was corralled and pushed violently towards Marble Arch - again, away from the mainstream media.