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Hippies, Muslims and Yanks march against Bush

Published Jul 9, 2003


What seemed to be an odd assortment of people joined forces in Pretoria on Wednesday to express strong opposition to the United States President George Bush's visit to South Africa.

About a thousand people gathered under the banner of the Anti-War Coalition to march on the US embassy around lunchtime.

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Hippies, men and women in traditional Muslim dress, militant toyi-toying youngsters and even some Americans turned up for the event.

"Go away, we've got enough Bushes in Africa," read a poster held up by one middle-aged man.

The group chanted "Who let the bombs drop - Bush, Blair, Sharon", to the tune of the pop song Who Let The Dogs Out.

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They placed "wanted" posters of Bush along the street and displayed placards reading "Stop Bush", with the s of his surname in the form of a swastika and a Hitler moustache drawn on his face.

One banner read: "A village in Texas is missing its idiot."

There was also a placard saying: "I piss on Bushes."

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In a memorandum to be presented to the US embassy, the coalition said Bush's visit was aimed at making South Africa the US's "policeman" on the African continent in the war against terror.

It also charged Bush with coming to South Africa with "big juicy carrots" to get American hands on Africa's oil.

"His trade offers will amount to little else than the extraction of the continent's wealth derived from oil."

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The memorandum said the US made a mockery of South Africa's insistence on multi-lateralism and would continue to do so.

"A diplomatic solution to the United States' dominance is simply a waste of time. Only global mass struggle against Bush will make a difference."

The group called for Bush to be arrested and made to appear before an international tribunal for crimes against humanity.

Organisations represented at the march included the Pan Africanist Congress, the Azanian People's Organisation, the Palestine Solidarity Committee, the Anti-Privatisation Forum and religious bodies. A banner of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) was also held aloft.

The Anti-War Coalition, which claims the support of 300 civic, political and community organisations, is opposed to South Africa hosting the US president, whom they describe as a man of war.

The coalition is critical of American foreign policy - including its invasion of Iraq - as well of US economic policy, which it says sidelines the poor. It has accused the country of gross human rights violations.

The march was one of three major ones planned for Pretoria on Wednesday. The series started with Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, urging Bush to intervene in the crisis in that country. - Sapa

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