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(en) Canada, Ottawa, The Anti-Bush Demo - US UK How Many Kids Did You Kill Today'

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 2 Dec 2004 20:48:14 +0100 (CET)

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Ottawa-November 30th George W Bush paid a presidential visit to Ottawa. He
was met with a massive anti war demonstration. One of the most prominent
participant groups was the People's Global Action (GPA). Demonstrators did
have some short lived success in claiming their right to peacefully
protest on streets close to Bush's various rendezvous spots with Canadian
officials as they were able to move passed two police barricades.
What is the inspiration in political protest? You could certainly feel
this special energy emanating from the large crowd gathering at Ottawa's
City Hall at noon for a march to Parliament Hill to express their discontent
or perhaps a better choice of words would be outrage at the visit from Bush.

Posters were creatively and proudly displaying slogans like 'Bushit',
'More Trees Less Bush', 'What Would Jesus Bomb', 'Your injection of fear
will not diminish our resistance, and 'Poverty is a weapon of mass
destruction,' filled the spaces above. A half dozen Raging Nannies belted
out their objections in tunes like, 'Georgie Bush is Coming To Town.'

Dedicated Food for Peace volunteers passed out soup and sandwiches and
there were plenty of drums and other instruments encouraging the creative
expression of dissent.

The crowd was enthusiastic to shout, 'US UK how many kids did you kill
today', 'Bush, Bush we know you your daddy was a killer too' and 'Hey Hey
Ho Ho Georgie Bush has got to go.' One impressive participant was a six
year old child whose proud father let her belt some of these chants over a
mega phone to lead the crowd. Her spirit glowed and she appeared to know
exactly what she was saying and doing. She impressed and inspired everyone
around her.

Police from all over the province filled the streets. Unlike police
presence at the G8 and G20 demonstrations the police at least initially
did not put on an aggressive demeanor. They stood in a relaxed at ease
stance, which was so atypical and constant it must have been part of their
briefing instructions.

The crowd of about 6 or 7 thousand poured out of City Hall and headed to
point their concerns towards the powers to be on Parliament Hill.

When the crowd reached the hill the PGA van turned left to signal the
beginning of snake marching. A large segment of the crown headed left up
Wellington intending to turn up Bank and then to the Congress Centre where
Bush was expected to be by that afternoon to meet Stephan Harper. Police
blocked the entrance to the street so the van turned around and headed
back towards Rideau. This actually turned out to be advantageous to the
organizers of the snake marches because as they walked passed the hill
again thousands more joined in the snake march. At Wellington and Rideau
police had placed a short steal barrier to block the entrance to Rideau as
this was getting close to the Congress Centre.

The police guarding the barricade were not in riot gear and they had a
somewhat laid back attitude.

A group of anarchists began to push over the barricade while the crowd
shouted, 'whose streets', then, 'our streets.' The crowd roared, 'People
united will never be defeated,' when the barracked came down and police
moved back.

In front of local, national and international press fully poised for the
event this forced the police to send in hundreds of riot police to work on
the crowd. With shields, pepper spray and rubber bullet riffles drawn
police pushed the protestors back. There were punches and kicks thrown by
both police and protestors. One protester was punched in the face breaking
his glasses and pepper sprayed. Another had the rubber bullet gun pointed
at his head and told to move back. The crowd was pushed back behind the
barrier again. There was no question now that this crowd was not a Bush
welcoming committee and the world now knows he has bad relations with his
neighbors to the North.

A large part of the crowd broke off again heading towards the Laurier St.
Bridge to try and get to Congress Centre by another route. They came up
Rideau towards the stand off by the other crowd but were unable to gain
access to the Congress Centre by that route either.

Next the snake marchers tried to cross several bridges in Ottawa going
over to Quebec. The reason for this was to try and reach the Museum of
Civilization where Bush was supposed to have supper. The protestors broke
up into several groups and tried to cross several different bridges until
finally one group was able to push through a barrier on the Chaudieres
Bridge, which was being guarded, by a small group of local police. When
protestors pushed over the barrier police ran. Protestors proceeded to
cross the bridge and approach the Bush-meeting place at the Museum of
Civilization from the Quebec side. They had gotten much closer than had
been planned by police but they did not get right up to the museum as it
was very heavily guarded.

Labour organizations set up a call in station for Legal Support Ottawa to
handle reports of arrest or police misconduct. Twenty-two people were
arrested and one serious incident of police misconduct was reported where
two PGA vans were arbitrarily confiscated while all the occupants of the
van were told to get out of the van as they were under arrest. This was
done with some sort of riffle drawn. No reason was given for the arrest no
charges were laid and no cause was apparent and no reason was given for
this police confiscation of vehicles. Therefore, protest organizers are
perceiving it as state interference with peaceful assembly.

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