London mayor voices support for protests against Bush's visit
( 2003-11-19 10:58) (Xinhua)
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone publicized Tuesday his support for protests against US President George W. Bush's four-day state visit to Britain this week.
"You have the moral high ground," he declared in a direct message to the would-be protesters.
"You are protesting against an illegal war and occupation (of Iraq) and the world will be watching you," Livingstone said.
Meanwhile, he urged the protesters to avoid any violent turmoil.
"You also have responsibilities to the people of London and the wider world. There will be no place for violence of any kind in London this week. Protests must be peaceful and within the law," he noted.
Asked if he himself will take part in the march, Livingstone said: "I will be here in the (London mayoral) building just in case there are problems."
In an interview with the Ecology magazine issued this week, Livingstone also accused Bush of being "the greatest threat to life on this planet that we've most probably ever seen", claiming Bush's policies "will doom us to extinction".
During the security arrangement consultation for Bush's visit earlier this month, Livingstone also firmly dismissed any notion that wide swathes of central London should be closed for the sake of Bush's safety.
A well-known veteran left-winger, the mayor joined anti-war marches in the British capital before the March invasion of Iraq.
Tens of thousands of people from all over Britain are expected to join the "Stop Bush" mass march in central London on Thursday. They will also topple a mock statue of Bush in Trafalgar Square at the time.
Bush will pay a four-day visit to Britain on Nov. 18-21 to lobby for help from his staunchest ally amid escalating violence in Iraq against US troops and mounting outcry for a quick transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis.
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