The real aim of George Bush’s visit to Britain became clear on Monday when Gordon Brown announced more British troops for Afghanistan and “further sanctions” on Iran.
Bush praised Gordon Brown for being “tough on terror” and said that the invasion of Iraq – estimated to have killed over a million Iraqi civilians – was “the right thing to do”.
It was no surprise then that people were angry that Bush was invited to visit Britain. They were determined to make their voices heard.
Over 2,500 anti-war protesters descended on Parliament Square last Sunday for an defiant protest against the US president’s visit.
There was a large turnout of young people, with many demonstrating for the first time.
“It’s important to demonstrate against Bush because he needs to be held accountable for what he’s done,” said Sarah from north London.
Nimco Ismail is a health care assistant in London. “This is my first anti-war demonstration,” she told Socialist Worker.
“I came after watching a documentary about US involvement in Somalia. We have to make our voices heard. The world has to know what Bush is doing.”
The Metropolitan Police banned a planned march down Whitehall at the US’s request.
People were angry that their right to protest had been tossed aside at the behest of George Bush.
“The US is interfering with our civil liberties,” said Jyotrmishra, an anti-war musician from Derby. “Yet if a demonstration was banned in China there would be an outcry.”
Many were shocked at the policing operation that was put in place to stop people from exercising their right to protest. The operation was rumoured to have cost over £1 million.
Police blocked off Whitehall with metal barriers, rows of police vans, horses and lines of riot police, preventing demonstrators from marching to Downing Street.
Police with batons attacked protesters, causing many injuries and hospitalising some people.
Twenty three year old Peter Simpson was one of the protesters injured by police at the demonstration. “Police were hitting our hands with their truncheons,” he said.
“They were standing over us like bullies with their weapons. I was hit on my arm, shoulder and head. Blood was streaming down my face.”