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UK protestors plan a welcome for Bush
Shyam Bhatia in London | November 10, 2003 17:04 IST
Anti-war protestors in the UK are predicting Pakistan could be the next target for what is being described as rampant US military intervention across the globe.
The Stop the War coalition, which is organising street protests against President George Bush's visit to the UK later this month, lists Pakistan along with Cuba, Syria, North Korea and Iran as among the countries where the US is likely to intervene in months and years ahead.
Stop the War, which wants the US to pull out of Iraq, is supported by leading British trade unionists, left wing members of the UK parliament and Indian and Pakistani civil rights activists based in the UK.
Former UK MP and cabinet minister, Tony Benn, is quoted by organisers as saying: "President Bush will not be welcome in Britain. His war has killed thousands of people and left Iraq in chaos and now Iraq's assets are to be sold off in the world market."
Stop the War has asked its supporters to gather for a national rally in London on November 20 when a replica statue of the US president will be pulled down from a temporary plinth on Trafalgar Square.
The protestors also propose to bare their bottoms as the Bush motorcade sweeps through the streets of the British capital on its way to Buckingham Palace.
Bush's security advisers had asked for much of central London to be closed off during the US president's three day visit, including Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, but police chiefs have told UK Prime Minister Tony Blair that this would be an unwise move as demonstrators must be allowed to air their sentiments.
Meanwhile, opponents of the US policy in Iraq are being asked to sign a letter to Blair which reads:
The British government has invited George Bush to Britain on 19-21 November. Press reports indicate that he will be staying at Buckingham Palace, addressing both Houses of parliament and visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
"To those of us, a majority of people in this country, who opposed the senseless waste of life entailed in the attack on Iraq, this invitation is unacceptable. The US administration is heading the illegal occupation of Iraq and is threatening sanctions against Iran, Syria and North Korea. The state visit will be seen as an endorsement by the people of this country of this policy.
"Any such impression would be entirely without justification. We demand that the British government retract this invitation."