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Bush visit fuels anti-war protests

PUBLISHED: 15:47 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:05 12 August 2010

US President George W Bush s farewell visit to the UK sparked angry protests from thousands of anti-war demonstrators in Parliament Square last Sunday.

US President George W Bush's farewell visit to the UK sparked angry protests from thousands of anti-war demonstrators in Parliament Square last Sunday.

Activist group Bromley and Beckenham Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) joined the rally which resulted in 25 arrests during furious clashes with police.

The two-day visit was expected to be the President's last while in office. He was due to fly to Stormont in Northern Ireland on Monday afternoon.

Secretary of Bromley and Beckenham CND, Ann Garrett, said, "Humanity is already facing a formidable threat with climate change. We do not need war, we need global consensus to face up to this threat.

"The world has become a more unstable and dangerous place ever since George W Bush took office and I cannot see why the UK is following suit.

"Both climate change and war create population displacement, refugees and ruins. This is not in Britain's best interest".

Protesters were angered by America's plans to press ahead with the Missile Defence project and chanted "Bush is not welcome".

The demonstrators were banned from marching on to Downing Street after the whole area was sealed off by police.

Ms Garrett said: "It seemed the police were attempting to protect Mr Bush's eardrums from the voice of the protesters. This is a sad day for our civil liberties and British values."

Three people, including a 60-year-old woman accused of indecent exposure were charged after the rally. Police made 25 arrests in total after 10 officers suffered minor injuries. It's estimated up to 2,500 demonstrators gathered in the square with around 1,200 police officers working on each day of his visit. Two men, aged 21 and 26, were charged with obstructing police. They were due to appear before magistrates at Westminster on Monday. Two women and five men have been released on bail, while a man and two women arrested for breaching the peace were released after "words of advice".

Another 11 people remained in police custody on Monday afternoon. A 20-year-old man accused of a public order offence was released without further action.

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