While a certain corner of our capital was transformed by red carpets in preparation for George Bush’s visit last week, the other corners were lined with banners, placards and posters that reflected the utmost contempt for Bush and his policies.
Many students were on the streets declaring that they would not be party to the crimes of war and bloodshed. We were joined by people from all walks of life.
The crowd swelled to around 100,000 filling thousands of metres of road.
This mass snaked its way through the streets with cries against the US president, against imperialism in Iraq, against genocide in Africa, against war for oil, against the nuclear arms race and against injustice.
Together we chanted, “Yeh bushwa paglaya hai, yeh sab tel ki maya hai, bachon ka hatyara hai, isko tel hi pyara hai. (Bush has gone mad, all he wants is oil. He kills children for the sake of oil.)”
Around 150,000 demonstrated in Mumbai and there was a partial general strike in Hyderabad.
That Bush came as a “state guest” is a clear signal that our government is becoming a client state of the US – a shameful measure for a nation that had to fight against imperialism in order to free itself.
In Pakistan demonstrations were less visible due to a state clampdown. Nevertheless there were protests in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Imran Khan, the cricketer turned politician, accused Bush of being an “enemy of democracy” and then, like many opposition politicians, found himself placed under house arrest.
Bush was unable to see Pakistan – he came in the dark of night and dared not leave the fortified embassy in Islamabad for the whole visit. He left without giving a single public address.
Thanks also to Riaz Ahmed for his report