Bush Snr in London

May 19, 2004

Daddy Bush Comes to London – Protest Report.

Tuesday 18 May saw George Bush senior visit London to rustle up some more cash for Idiot Son’s election campaign. Already the Bush campaign has been the richest ever, already there are constant adverts and bill posters in the states drumming up support for the alleged president’s reelection. But Dubya needs more, believing if enough cash is thrown at the campaign, he might overcome the unpopularity his ill judged invasion of Iraq has created domestically.

Anyone attending the entirely peaceful protest at the Landmark Hotel on Tuesday will have been instantly impressed at the numbers of on duty Metropolitan police officers who’d come to show their opposition to the war. Unfortunately that was a mistaken view. In one of the most heavy handed police operations in the entire history of the anti-war movement, the met simply swamped the place with coppers, curtailed practically every right a protester might have and let the father of the world’s biggest murderer have the run of the town.

Nevertheless, the noise generated by the PA, foghorns and chanting made sure that the protest couldn’t be ignored. Slogans were re-written for the occasion “Daddy Bush, we know you, your son is a killer too” and more along those lines. People were kindly ‘allowed’ a protest area by the police and were threatened with arrest if they refused to utilise the space. One of the most ridiculous sights was one of perhaps 100 police lining the pavements arguing with someone standing leaning on a pillar that they were causing an obstruction. No logic, just police reckoning to deal with there. Four arrests were made on the day.

There was never a chance of getting closer, the tax payers funded policing of the event was such that protest had been significantly marginalised. And why? There have been hardly any arrests and far fewer convictions of peace protesters over the past 3 years. All the protesters wanted to do was make their protest felt.

Years ago, when the Tories were in office there was a Tory Party conference in Brighton, accompanied by the prerequisite student demo. After the demo, coming out of a pub six of us found Michael Heseltine walking along the street. With a couple of banners in hand we chased him down the street, and caught up with him trembling in a shop doorway. What do you do in a situation like that? You can’t just beat him up (well, you could but that wouldn’t exactly be a victory for the movement at all). so we shouted at him a bit and went back to the pub. It was, of course after this meeting that Michael had his heart attack, but no one could possibly draw any correlation between these two memorable events in his life.

The things that get chucked at politicians are normally eggs or rotten fruit – it’s a fine gesture, maybe thrown with extra gusto as the passions rise, but not exactly intended to kill.

So instead of claiming they were there to keep the peace, perhaps the police would have more honestly said “we don’t want you throwing any old food at George Bush senior, now get in the pen before I arrest you.”

The protest managed to gain good coverage, helped to keep the anti-war movement in the spotlight and will hopefully serve as a reminder that we haven’t and will not go away. I’ll remember the rousing chorus of:

“we hope you choke on your pretzels….”

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