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Protests could spoil the view

By Alan Maass | November 21, 2003 | Page 2

THE WHITE House didn't want anything to spoil George W. Bush's view during this week's visit to Britain. No matter how many rights that British authorities would have to shred.

Spokespeople for the Stop the War Coalition in Britain--where as many as 2 million people turned out to the huge antiwar march a month before the invasion--are hoping that tens of thousands will protest Bush on November 20. But U.S. officials demanded a rolling "exclusion zone" around Bush and a ban on marches in parts of London--to keep demonstrators from "appearing in the same television shots," as one newspaper reported.

The Stop the War Coalition initially said that police told them they would be banned from demonstrating in Parliament Square and Whitehall--the equivalent of Washington, D.C., cops saying that protesters wouldn't be allowed near the Capitol building or the White House. "[O]ne gets the feeling that there is a bigger hand somewhere that is trying to prevent a march going along Whitehall and past Parliament Square," Jeremy Corbyn, a member of parliament and leading figure in the Stop the War Coalition, told the BBC. "The Americans are actually running the security operation in London as well."

But with a few days to go, police suggested that the march would be allowed to go ahead. Meanwhile, at a question-and-answer session, George Bush said that he "welcomed" the planned protests. "I'm so pleased to be going to a country which says that people are allowed to express their minds," Bush said. Do you believe him?

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