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2003-02-20

Peace Protests Continue Despite President Bush’s Dismissal of the Anti-War Movement As a Mere "Focus Group"

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On Tuesday President Bush was asked to address the massive anti-war protests. He said: "Democracy is a beautiful thing, and that people are allowed to express their opinion. I welcome people’s right to say what they believe. Secondly, evidently some of the world don’t view Saddam Hussein as a risk to peace… you know, size of protest, it’s like deciding, well, I’m going to decide policy based upon a focus group."

Tape:

  • President George W. Bush, recorded February 18, 2003.

But Protests against George Bush’s plans to launch a first-strike attack on Iraq continue.

In Seattle, eight people blocked traffic on a commuter bridge across Lake Washington for half an hour on Tuesday morning. They were all arrested. Activists say over 50,000 people attended the anti-war demonstration in Seattle on Feb. 15th.

Also Tuesday, in Denmark, three Greenpeace activists were arrested after protesting on the rooftops of the Danish parliament building against Copenhagen’s pro-US policy on Iraq. The demonstrators unfurled a banner atop the Christiansborg Palace featuring a caricature of President Bush juggling weapons of mass destruction with a stunned Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen looking on with a naive smile. A caption read "Brothers in Arms".

Meanwhile:

* Italy’s main union is threatening to launch a potentially crippling general strike if there is an attack on Iraq ­ even if it is backed by the UN Security Council.

* 10,000 marched in the streets of the southern Lebanese city of Sidon, and

* 5,000 students demonstrated in two Egyptian universities

And in Houston, police arrested two members of Houston Students For Peace after they hung an anti-war banner over a local highway yesterday morning. And on Tuesday, a group of citizens rallied outside Houston City Hall to lobby City Council members to pass a resolution against war in Iraq. To date the Council has not voted. Yesterday we spoke with organizer Jim Essig who gave us an update on why the Council may be hesitant to joining the 100 cities and counties who have passed similar resolutions.

Tape:

  • Jim Essig, Houston peace activist.

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