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Special exclusion zone for Bush in London
Shyam Bhatia in London | November 13, 2003 14:41 IST
Last Updated: November 13, 2003 14:45 IST
History is being turned on its head with the United Kingdom being treated like an American colony for the duration of President George W Bush's state visit next week.
Until the 1776 Declaration of Independence, it was the UK that was in the driving seat as far as the United States was concerned.
But now, more than 200 years later, it is the US that calls the shots where events within the UK are concerned.
In an unprecedented development, members of the US secret service accompanying Bush will be permitted to carry weapons on UK sovereign territory.
To please the visiting delegation, UK police officials have also agreed to create an exclusion zone that will prevent protestors from walking down some of the streets of their own capital from Whitehall into Parliament Square.
Senior UK police sources have told rediff.com off the record how they are dreading the Bush trip as "a nightmare", saying the Americans want to turn London into a mini Washington by closing roads for miles around before the US president passes by in his motorcade.
Speaking on the record Scotland Yard's Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Trotter has denied coming under pressure to boost security for the presidential visit, saying. "There has been no pressure for anyone else about exclusion zones.
"Our main concern is to make sure that the visit is secure.
"As appropriate we will close roads to facilitate movements of the president's convoy. But we will keep this to a minimum," he said.
Demonstrators protesting against the visit plan to take a Bush effigy to Trafalgar Square in central London and topple it in the same way that Saddam Hussein's statue was toppled in Baghdad towards the end of the Iraq war.
But Bush, who will be kept away from where the demonstrators converge, will not witness this act of defiance.