November 2003: Coverage of the visit of US President Bush to London.
The north's opposition to Bush's state visit was apparent before he even left the capital. Late on Thursday protestors let Bush know he's not welcome.
Bush travelled to Sedgefield, Co Durham to Blair's home consituency. About 500 protestors assembled on the village green to greet Bush (accompanied by 1,200 police officers). The authorities kept Bush and his welcoming party well apart. The ChasingBush website posts a compilation of protestors' reports.
Thousands took to the streets in Edinburgh and Glasgow yesterday, 19th November, to oppose the occupation of Iraq and Bush’s visit to the UK. Striking school students defied threats from headteachers and Education Authorities to walk out of class and head the demonstrations.
The Edinburgh and Glasgow daytime demos involved sit-downs and attempts to blockade traffic. In Edinburgh school students burnt an effigy of Bush in front of the US Consulate. The crowd chanted “Burn, Bush, Burn!” as a bonfire was lit on the road.
Demonstrators marched again in both cities in the evening. Protestors from round Scotland swelled the Edinburgh march to around 5,000. Marchers dismantled police barricades near the US Consulate but the police blocked the route to the Consulate building.
Massive demonstrations have taken place in and around Trafalgar Square in London. A 17 feet-high statue of George Bush was toppled to huge cheers from the crowd at 17:22 GMT [ Video]. Estimates of today's attendance range from AP syndicating around the world the number of 50,000 (later amended), over the Metropolitan Police's official estimate of 70,000 (later updated to 110,000) to the Stop the War Coalition ever increasing estimate of up to 300,000 (a number to which Indymedia reporters on the scene agree). Whatever the numbers, today's event looks to be the biggest weekday demonstration of recent years.
Update: Indymedia UK received over a million hits on Thursday (1,119,801 to be exact) - not bad for a website run by DIY collectives all over the UK. We would like to emphasize that Indymedia exists by non-hierarchical organization and has no other resources than the commitment of people donating their time and talent.
To kick the day off activists unfurled a banner reading "Bush Free Zone" from Admiralty Arch, see report and press release and pictures. To read up on the events as they unfolded check the Full Timeline of the events in London.Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | gallery
Reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
Audio: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
Video: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Across The UK
Aberdeen: Demonstration against Bush.
Barnsley: another Bush statue toppling.
Sedgefield: Several bonfires were lit up as a preparation for today's demos in Sedgefield.
Sheffield: anti-Bush demo outside the Town Hall, followed by a sitdown protest at Furnival Gate roundabout.
Swindon: Bush statue toppling in Swindon.
List of messages of support
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17
See also corporate media reports
Reports:   | [Pictures and report]
Click Read more for a detailed report and lots of pictures.
Other actions in Oxford or by Oxford activists:
George W Bush and his 700 hangers on have now arrived in the UK for his state visit. Last Saturday saw a 1,000-strong demonstration in Sheffield City Centre and now he's here Sheffield folks are keeping up the pressure.
Thursday 20 November
The major focus of the day's action was in London. This does not mean however that people in South Yorkshire for the day were no less furious at Bush's visit. In Sheffield, Sheffield Stop the War Coalition called for a demonstration aginst the visit outside the Town Hall and were joined by over 100 students. The group processed along Pinstone Street chanting and expressed their anger at Furnival Gate by a sitdown causing traffic disruption.
In Barnsley a 'straw man' Bush statue was toppled from an empty plinth, mirroring the toppling of the Saddam statue in Bagdhad on 09 April 2003. A fuller report of South Yorkshire actions has been posted.
No Sheffield reports of London actions as yet. But much can be gleaned from the main UK site. It is known that samba players were involved in the slow procession down Oxford Street 'escorted' by the Metropolitan Police. This part of the day's events were reported in the 19:10-21:55 section of the London timeline. Photos and videos have come in from elsewhere of this part of the day's activities.
Main UK report Stop Bu$h - National Demonstration.
Wednesday 19 November
At 1100 in Trafalgar Square, the proposed assembly of school students was described in Government crushes school student dissent?.
However Trafalgar Square didn't just contain a few school students. Other folks were up for a little creative disobedience. The fountains reminded passers by of the blood on Bush and Blair's hands.
By mid-afternoon, many protesters were getting a little peckish, so tea and cake seemed to be a great idea. Where better to have a tea party than Buckingham Palace? Lizzie and Dubya didn't seem to be in a very welcoming mood though [report & pictures].
Meanwhile, the sambistas were having a roaming street party. Starting at ULU on Gower Street, the party also disrupted traffic on Tottenham Court Road and Shaftesbury Avenue, before arriving at Trafalgar Square for the end of the women's action. This action was massively over-policed, one passing Londoner "was astonished how small the demo was after seeing the massive entourage of cops and vans".
Main UK report Resist Bush! Day of Civil Disobedience.
Tuesday 18 November
A group of Sheffielders attended the 3,000-strong Burning Planet March, organized by Campaign Against Climate Change which left Lincoln's Inn Fields at about 1930, ultimate destination: the American Embassy via Esso/Exxon HQ at Aldwych. The Samba Band joined forces with London's Rhythms of Resistance.
[report | report and pictures]
Main UK report Bush Arrives As Protests Increase.
Monday 17 November
Burning Planet March [Tue] [1</> | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8]
School students assemble [Wed] [1 | 2]
Trafalgar Square redecorated [Wed] [1 | 2 | 3]
Tea party on The Mall & at Buckingham Palace [Wed] [1 | 2 | 3 | 4]
Sit down action outside the Palace [Wed] [1 | 2 | 3]
Sambista roaming street party [Wed] [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5]
Sheffield protest [Thu] 
Samba cordon down Oxford Street [Thu] [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14]
Placards, banners, graffiti and body art [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21]
Malet Street postcard sellers [1 | 2]
Samba Band Bush gallery
Wednesday was billed as a day of civil disobedience and direct action throughout the country. In London, amidst the massive security operation, people took to the streets with events and actions. The protests started early in the morning with the delivery of a Tarte au Citron to the Queen, courtesy of the Biotic Baking Brigade. Then actions kicked off throughout the day with a Critical Mass, an Alternative State Procession, Street Parties, a Women's Peace Picnic and other actions Across The UK - culminating in 2000 protesters dancing in front of Buckingham Palace on a Resist Bush Tea Party. Police proved to be still overreacting when policing during a head of state visit: When Jiang Zemin was around they turned placards of protesters away - with Bush they confiscated a small sound system singing anti-Bush songs.Multimedia
London: reports including the full London timeline with it's sections on the resist Bush teaparty, Critical Mass, alternative state procession, school students, street parties and the O.I.L women's peace picnic.
Aberdeen: About 80-100 people demonstrated against the Bush visit to the UK in St Nicholas Square at lunch time.
Bradford: Bradford saw a notable amount of Anti-Bush protest including a rally and the handing of a petition calling for the arrest of Tony Blair on war crimes charges to the police.
Cardiff: The whole city centre brought to a standstill.
Cambridge: 100 people demonstrated toppling the statues of Bush and Blair in the Market Square. No arrests were reported. Indymedia reports from people in the US were read out to the crowd.
Canterbury: About 100-200 people gathered outside the library at 6pm, after several chants lead by Mac someone produced a guitar and an African drum and started a song "We're going to war. Pay your taxes".
Edinburgh: A very peaceful, determined demo took place in the day followed by an evening protest that broke through police lines near the US Consulate. Pictures
Glasgow: In Glasgow reports estimate over 1,000 demonstrators gathered in George Square then took to the surrounding streets. Shawlands Academy pupils were among the striking school students involved.
Kent: A small but enthusiastic group from Ashford peace group,East Kent Greens and supporters from Folkestone etc gathered near Ashford Intl Rail station to demo against Bush with several colourful banners (some made by 10 year olds!) and whistles.
Nottingham: 'No-Bush' demo in Nottingham in Market Square.
Oxford: Around 1500 people turned out, protestors left Brookes University at 5.00pm to march to the city centre on reaching The Plain they found a large, enthusiastic and noisy group of friends, some dancing to the sounds of Oxford's new Radical Samba Band. People then marched enthusiastically up to Carfax where another group was waiting to topple the papier-mache effigy of George 'I-stole-the-presidency' Bush. A die-in and a staged wedding between Bush and Blair also took place during the afternoon. Oxford IMC Feature
Liverpool: 200 stand up scousers stopped the traffic outside Liverpool Town Hall for an hour.
Molesworth: A short vigil was held at the Joint Analysis Centre Molesworth to protest at George Bush’ UK visit.
Swindon: Shoppers and workers in Swindon town centre this lunchtime were slightly bemused to find George W Bush explaining his plans for global domination via a megaphone.
York: 300 people marched through York in the rain to protest about the visit of killer Bush. A statue of Bush, cash in hand, with Blair aside, was toppled.
See [report] [report + pics] - Pictures [ 1]  
Meanwhile in Brixton yet another statue of George Bush was being toppled by campaigners, this time complete with mock trial where he was found guilty of a number of charges - see report and pics [ 1] .
Earlier in the day another naked protest against Bush took place at the Tate spelling out the words 'Bush Go Home', while students at University College London have occupied part of the university. The London School of Economics Student Union also voted to support the next three days of protests.
After discussions late this afternoon The Metropolitan Police and the Stop the War Coalition have agreed the march route for Thursday that allows the march over Westminster Bridge, past Parliament and along Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, as expected after speculation in the press over the weekend (see also corporate media coverage).
Meanwhile last minute preparations are underway for the multitude of demonstrations and actions planned against Bush. Not just restricted to anti-war issues, the protests also deal with issues from GM to Climate Change to Globalisation (see reasons to protest). Wednesday 19th has been called as a day for civil disobedience and direct action. In London, amidst the massive security operation, wednesday will see people taking to the streets with events and actions running throughout the day including an alternative state procession, a critical mass, a street party, school walkouts, the Resist Bush Tea Party mass direct action and many more smaller actions (see London Listing + ResistBush.org). On Tuesday, the day Bush arrives, the Burning Planet climate protest will march via the ExxonMobil ("Esso") offices in Aldwych, through central London to the US Embassy.
On Saturday afternoon, up to 1,000 people gathered for a demonstration in Sheffield City Centre to say 'No!' to George W Bush's impending state visit to the UK. The demonstration took the form of a 'traditional style' march around the streets. Sheffield Samba Band were in attendance, who provided a musical backdrop to leafletting.
Reports & Comments
- Sheffield Shoppers encouraged to go on a Bush Hunt
- Sheffield Against Bush March
- What is the point of marching?
- Sheffield Anti bush demo & analysis
- Sheffield anti Bush demo pics
- Sheffield Samba Band saying Stop Bush
- The unity of Police and protesters symbolises a secret set of shared goals.
- Anti-bush sentiment from the Samba Band yesterday who drew a large crowd on Fargate
- Bush comes up North on Friday
Follow the Read more link below for more on Bush's visit.
14th Nov: "Chasing Bush" SMS Text Tracking Website for the State Visit Launches
14th Nov: Sedgefield Welcoming Committee Protest Announced
14th Nov: Vietnam Vet Ron Kovic will now lead a delegation of STOP BU$H protestors to Downing Street at 11am on Monday 17th where they will hand in a 100,000 signature petition demanding that Bush's visit be called off.
13th Nov: National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice briefs journos + State Visit Timetable Announced
13th Nov: Stop the War Coalition Considers Legal Action
11th Nov: With less than one week to go before the State Visit of US President Bush to the uk, discussions and arguments around high security versus the rights to demonstrate have hit fever pitch, with widespread coverage on TV and in the newspapers. Stories have centred on US demands to close down large areas of central London with figures like London Mayor Ken Livingstone saying that this must not happen.
While the Stop the War Coalition and Muslim Association of Britain - the main organisers of the largest march - have said police will not allow the route of their march to pass parliament or along Whitehall, the police have however said those areas will remain open, althought they have also said that daily road closures at short notice are to be expected.
While the main focus of protests will be in London, other demonstrations are also happening in Sheffield, Manchester, Cambridge, Bristol, Oxford, and many other towns and cities. In London, several days of protests will see a range of actions from mass civil disobedience to street parties.
Listings of planned protests:
see London Listing | ResistBush.org | Stop The War Coalition Muslim Association of Britain (national day of fasting) | Bristol and Swindon | Cambridge | Chester | Sheffield | Oxford | Sedgefield | York | Aylesbury | Exeter | Leeds | Bradford | Manchester | Glasgow | Edinburgh [1,2] | Menwith Hill | more to follow... |
Bare your Bum at Bush 1 | Bare your Bum at Bush 2 | Scrap-Bush Women's Collective | NOT WELCOME Pretzel Campaign | Main Online Petition Against Bush Visit (7000+) | Petition 2 | Street Party Against Bush | Stencils and Stickers | SMS Text Tracking System for Bush visit | Virtual March on US Embassy (20th Nov)
Bush Statue Toppled by West Yorkshire Peace Campaigners
Cambridge: Activist on Bridge urges Commuters to STOP BUSH
ResistBush info (includes 'Sessional Orders')
| Section 44 Terrorism Act info (authorised for use) | Liberty Section 44 Search Monitoring Form (pdf - includes police powers info) | Section 60 Powers | Info from Irish Gluaiseacht | Activist Legal Resource
After tea with Tony and the Queen, George will pack his suitcase and head to Miami, where he will be taking part in the fifth Summit of the Americas on the 20-21st of November - for more on the FTAA see here