TONY BLAIR and George Bush hoped the state visit of the US president to Britain this week would be a victory parade in the wake of their war on Iraq. Instead the scale of the protests turned the visit into a siege. The two warmongers were forced to cancel planned parades and speeches. They were to hide behind huge numbers of police, totally cut off from any contact with ordinary people.
Thursday's magnificent demonstration through London indicated the enormous depths of opposition in this country to Bush, Blair and their war policy. Media commentators who had predicted the protests would be low key and small have been forced to eat their words as central London was brought to a standstill.
The scale of the protests against Bush stunned even the organisers. Among those who marched were many who had not joined the great demonstration against war back in February. The brutal reality of the US and British occupation of Iraq has deepened the anger against them.
The case for war pushed by Bush and Blair has been exposed as lies. This too has increased the feeling of opposition to the war. Those who protested this week know that the war and occupation have not brought the peace, prosperity and democracy to Iraq promised by Bush and Blair.
Instead the violence meted out by the occupying forces is deepening the resistance to the US and British forces. That resistance has thrown the whole US policy in Iraq into deep crisis. But that does not mean we can sit back and just watch what is happening in the Middle East.
The great danger is that Bush will respond to the political weakness he now faces at home and the defeats his troops are suffering in Iraq with even more violence. He has already resumed bombing raids in Iraq. And he is making the same sort of threatening noises about Syria and Iran that he was making about Iraq 18 months ago.
Bush has still not given up on his original plan to reshape the Middle East and dominate the world, using war to enforce US interests. That's why one of the biggest cheers in Trafalgar Square on Thursday came when speakers made it clear that the anti-war movement was determined to stop Bush going on to launch attacks on Iran, Syria or North Korea. Our protests can help ensure that the occupation of Iraq is ended as quickly as possible.
We can also create a tide of resistance in the US and in Britain so powerful that it becomes politically impossible for Bush and Blair to wage more wars, anywhere in the world.
Bush's war is breeding violence
THE BOMB attacks in Turkey show one thing clearly. The 'war on terrorism' preached by Bush and Blair is breeding terrorism around the world. The more the US occupies parts of the Middle East, the more it is creating despair and bitterness.
Some people will react to the random bombing and killing by the US and its allies Britain and Israel with random bombing of their own. Socialists have always been opposed to such methods. But we also understand that what causes them is the much greater violence of George Bush and his friends.
The bigger the anti-war movement in the US and Britain, the more successful we are in challenging Bush, Blair and their imperialism. And the quicker we can force them out of the Middle East and bring about the justice without which there will be no peace.
We were there
'My husband was drafted in November 2002. He was taken to Fort Campbell in Kentucky and kept there for three months of retraining before his draft even started. He was told he would be in Iraq for 179 days. Now he has been told he will be there for 508. He wants to come home. So many of the US soldiers want to come home. I think the war has everything to do with corporate and oil interests. I am proud to be on the demo today. I hope it will have an impact in the US.'
JARI SHEESE, member of Military Families Speak Out
'Bush just seems to think we are idiots. So many innocent people have died already, and for what? He probably doesn't care about us, but today will go some way to making him listen. I still can't believe Blair invited him. Look at the reaction today-it speaks for itself.'
SONIA, TAY and SARAH, students from University College London
'It is only right that we are here in such numbers. It's not just about Iraq-it's about all Bush's foreign policy and the sheer selfishness of his government. They don't think about anybody but themselves. It's really important to show we are against the war. Just because Blair supports it doesn't mean we do.'
VIV and ESTHER, a painter and decorator and a tattooist
More voices from the march
'WE WANT to stop Bush. He doesn't deserve a state visit. I was on the student fees demo a few weeks ago. So I am against Bush and against taxpayers' money being wasted on this visit instead of being spent on useful things like health and education.'
JO, Nottingham University
'WE HAVE just had the European Social Forum in Paris and decided we just had to be here. The anti-war movement in Britain has been such an inspiration to us in France.'
ZAK, student from Paris
'I AM marching to show Bush and Blair that we are against them and what they have done. I am against the occupation of Iraq, and we are also marching in solidarity with the Palestinian people. We have to show Blair and Bush that people don't want the kind of world they want.'
MOHAMMED, school student from north London
'WE HAVE built our anti-war group from the bottom up. It has involved all sorts of people, including people new to any kind of politics and protest. We had 150 of us come down today by bus. Many more came down independently.'
JIM, member of the Unison union, Leicester
'THE LAST time I was on my feet in the streets of London was marching against the Vietnam War. This is even more important.'
TERESA, from Mundesley, north Norfolk