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Bush departs Ireland after Hillsborough summit
down | anti-war / imperialism | feature Monday April 07, 2003 16:18 by IMC Editorial Group - IMC Ireland
The trip announced at the last minute left Irish anti-war activists scrambling to organise, nevertheless two days of protests occurred across the province. In Derry the famous “you are now entering free Derry” mural was covered in protest at Bush's presence. A large demo called for on Monday night was attended by protestors from across the UK and Ireland. The summit and demo were held under the shadow of bomb threats, all of which turned out to be hoaxes. A massive PSNI, Military, and secret service operation threw a security cordon of a three mile “sterile zone” around Hillsborough and Stormount Castles. Despite this, a small group of anti war demonstrators made it to within 100 ft of the castle.
On Tuesday, a large demonstration of civil disobedience took place in Belfast city centre. Heavily policed by one of the toughest forces in Western Europe, the protest blocked traffic for over an hour, before being broken up with accusations of unnecessary use of force by the PSNI.
As for the summit, the terms for the administration of post-war Iraq were discussed. Sinn Fein, who play an active role in the Irish anti-war movement, defended their decision to take part in separate talks about the future of the Irish peace process, but came under heavy criticism from other republicans for doing so. Meanwhile, strong doubts were raised about whether this US administration had any real interest in our peace process, suggesting that this was all just suitable window dressing for Blair and Bush’s “Peace Summit”.