Thousands rally for peace
Protests against President Bushpis visit to Ireland passed off
peacefully at the weekend amid the largest ever security
operation in Ireland.
Some 25,000 anti-war protestors marked his arrival to Ireland in
Dublin on Friday evening, the largest demonstration over the
weekend. There was also a large demonstration in Galway --
where 2,500 snaked through the city for the biggest such rally
in recent years -- and in other cities and towns across the
However, the turnout at Shannon and in the area of Dromoland
Castle, where Mr Bush stayed on Friday night, was lower than
expected. Four thousand police and two thousand soldiers easily
outnumbered protestors. Scenes of tank movements in the area and
security road-blocks were blamed for discouraging the public
from travelling to the remote site.
Four naval ships, Air Corps planes and specialist
decontamination and bomb disposal teams were on high alert to
guard against a possible chemical or biological attack during
the presidentpis visit.
Up to 700 armed US Secret Service personnel accompanied Mr Bush
on the trip, while riot police and water cannons were on standby
to deal with any trouble from anti-war supporters.
Groups of protesters waved placards calling for the arrest of Mr
Bush as military helicopters circled the skies overhead.
Richard Boyd-Barret, chairman of the Irish Anti-War Movement and
one of the main organisers of the protest, told the crowd it was
"an utter shame and disgrace" that so much public money and
resources had been used to facilitate the visit of Mr Bush, whom
he called a "war criminal".
BUSH HAILS IRISH PEACE
The Dromoland Summit was the first to take place between the US
and the enlarged European Union of 25 member states.
Mr Bush said at the end of his visit to Ireland that the peace
process in Ireland was a model for resolving other conflicts.
Mr Bush, who was attending a summit meeting between his country
and the European Union at Dromoland Castle in County Clare, said
the political situation in the north was an important issue for
>=I am fully aware that the prime minister of both Great Britain
and Ireland are going to advance the process this early
September,<= he said before his departure on Saturday afternoon.
>=We stand ready to help <> I wish them all the best.
>=When this conflict is resolved, it will be an example for
others <> that long- simmering disputes can be put behind them
and free societies and peaceful societies can emerge for the
interest of the peoples which have been involved in those
An Irish television interviewer was barred from questioning Mr
Bush on Michael Moore's anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11 prior to
his visit to Ireland, it has emerged.
Mr Bush's 'testy' reaction to the questioning and interjections
of Carol Coleman in an interview for RTE television surprised
Irish viewers. His lengthy responses to the prepared questions
were repeatedly interrupted by Ms Coleman, who pressed Mr Bush
on specific points.
However, US authorities subsequently complained about the
conduct of the interview with President Bush, which they said
EMPEROR WEARS T-SHIRT
Video images of Mr Bush looking out the window of his room at
Dromoland Castle after his arrival on Friday evening caused a
The image of Bush was from the waist up in a t-shirt. News
organisations were told not to use the video as a mark of
respect. However, grainy images still made it onto tabloid
A group including sick children and pensioners, returning from a
trip to Lourdes, were furious that their plane was diverted away
from Shannon over the weekend, due to the Bush visit.
Their plane finally landed at Shannon more than five hours later
than scheduled after being diverted to Cork.