News item from the Eastern Daily Press, Thursday, November 13, 2003:
Mixed welcome for a head of state
He's the leader of one of the world's most powerful nations, and has Iraq and global terrorism on his mind.
But coastal defence campaigners in North Norfolk are hoping that George W Bush may have a few minutes to spare to help them out with their problems.
A Happisburgh action group has written to the US president - who is visiting the UK next week - hoping he can mention their plight to Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The group's letter welcomes the president, and outlines the troubles at the coastal community where villagers have been battling for funding to protect their eroding cliffs.
Campaign co-ordinator Malcolm Kerby, who wrote the letter, suggests to Mr Bush that he may be in a better position than the Happisburgh community to catch Tony Blair's attention on the issue.
"As Prime Minister Blair seems hellbent on ignoring us, and we know he listens to you, maybe you would be kind enough to ask him to take a look at the very real problems our community faces," writes Mr Kerby.
Yesterday he conceded the letter was "tongue in cheek", but that it was an earnest
attempt to make a serious point.
Mel Harrison is working on the head of George Bush, for a six metre high effigy for anti-war protesters in London
Mr Bush can expect a cooler welcome from anti-war protesters from Suffolk, who are planning to use a pink cardboard tank in a Saddam statue-style demolition of a 6m tall effigy of Mr Bush.
Mr Bush's visit runs from Tuesday to Friday, and the demonstration by members of the Theatre of War group will be held in Trafalgar Square.
"It will be very similar to what happened in Iraq when the Americans toppled Saddam Hussein's statue with a tank," said group member Mell Harrison.
"The Americans did that to show his regime was over and we are doing this to show that it's time for peace." The idea for the statue has been around for a while, though it was not until the Stop the War coalition asked the group to do it that they took on the task of building it.
The three-piece giant is being constructed at Mettingham, near Bungay.
The Theatre of War is a political street theatre group that demonstrates against a range of issues, including the use of nuclear weapons and the invasion of Iraq.
Letter, from the Eastern Daily Press, Thursday, 13th November, 2003:
Bush protest over more than Iraq
Norwich Peace and District Council,
Havelock Road, Norwich.
The Prime Minister missed the point in his Lord Mayor's banquet speech (Editorial, November 11) in thinking that protests during George Bush's visit are just about Iraq.
Yes, Iraq is a key issue, and as the occupation gets bloodier by the day, Mr Blair should ask the ordinary people of Iraq, rather than the protesters, if they can "put the war" behind them.
But many will be protesting next week on a wider range of issues: US isolationism and treaty dumping, US exceptionalism (eg International Criminal Court), environment (eg Kyoto), human rights (eg. Guantanamo Bay), civil rights (eg Patriot Act), war on terrorism (eg where is Osama?, the mess left in Afghanistan), free trade/fair trade (eg NAFTA), US poverty (eg 40 million extreme poor and rising), economy and budget deficit (nearly a trillion dollars and increasing) - the list goes on.
Many British citizens are rightly appalled that the man in charge of this regime should be honoured in this way.
A major international conference, Start the Peace, at UEA on November 15 addresses many of these wider issues.
I am writing to express my support for the peaceful antiBush protests to be staged by the Theatre of War peaceful protest organisation next week.
They are building a large effigy of Bush, which will be toppled during his visit.
I am a peaceful person and am opposed to George Bush's visit to London. He is not welcome by the majority of people and his visit will cost our country a huge amount in order that he may attempt to obtain some publicity footage for his next election.
I will be protesting against Bush, as will thousands of others. There are many organised protests including the "bare your bum at Bush" campaign, which is not related to the Theatre of War but which sounds amusing!
I hope that your newspaper will cover the concerns of East Anglian residents and will mention the efforts of the Theatre of War.