US President George Bush says he will not be upset by mass protests planned for his visit to London next week.
In interviews with UK journalists, he said: "I can understand people not liking war, if that's what they're there to protest. I don't like war."
Mr Bush also said that he planned to meet the families of some UK troops killed in Iraq when he visits London.
Tony Blair said he expects major demonstrations, but he challenged opponents of the war in Iraq, saying now was the time to work alongside America to rebuild the country.
It will be the first official state visit by an American president for more than fifty years.
What do you think about Bush's state visit? Will you be protesting?
The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:
This forum has obviously been hijacked by the vehement anti Americanism that pervades the UK at the moment. Never forget, the freedom of speech you are using to insult the President was paid for with not only many British lives, but American ones as well. Unfortunately, I have a full time job to do so I cannot be in London to welcome our Ally, so I will use this forum to say welcome to the UK Mr President.
The authorities want to squash internal dissent. While Emperor Bush and Toady Blair mouth platitudes about their respect for the right to protest, they are working feverishly behind the scenes to minimise the protests. Blair is so desperate to prevent the protests from marring the state visit that he's willing to stoop to the lowest level to achieve this, including calling into question the patriotism and decency of those who simply want to register their dissent.
Tom Reeve, London
Mr Bush is the President of the USA and as such he should be greeted with good manners. I do not understand why anyone should wish to protest, Mr Corbyn MP would be better employed representing his constituents instead of causing disruption. The silent majority never gets a hearing
Allen Lucas, UK
As a London resident, I will happily welcome the president. It is the right of the Queen and Blair to invite him here. It is only sad that given the necessary security precautions I won't be able to go to the Mall to see the official welcome and see the Queen and Mr. Bush in the open carriage. Many keep suggesting that the White House is demanding such tight security, with the implication being that it is Mr. Bush's desire, but they ignore the fact that his protection falls to the Secret Service, who would take the blame should anything happen to him. Given the world we live in, it is understandable that they want to take every precaution to protect their President. That is their job. To those protesting, I say that you aren't speaking for me or for many others. Allow us to go about our business in London, just as you are demanding that the police allow you to demonstrate.
Ryan, London, UK
I voted for George Bush during the last election. Even though I disagree with some of his decisions and actions regarding areas such as the environment, he is a head of state and a close friend of Britain and should be accorded the respect due him when he visits Britain. I would suggest to all those would-be protesters that they turn their efforts inward and concentrate on fixing problems within Britain instead of worrying about the US.
Michael Charlton, Whispering Pines, USA
I am disgusted that Bush is coming. I have lived in the UK for over 20 years and am getting so that some days I find it hard to go out, I am so ashamed of my country.
Every bomb that kills an Iraqi child has been paid for by taking away education and healthcare from an American child. Nice work and welcome to Britain, Mr President.
Magda, Oldham, UK (US citizen)
Bush's visit to the UK is a total disgrace. He has managed in the space of 2 years, to make the USA the most unpopular and despised country in the world. Not satisfied with that he has dragged the UK with him, and it will take years of diplomacy to undo the untold damage. I shall be coming especially over to London from France to demonstrate.
Francis Wishart, Rones, France
Bush's visit is simply spin. It will serve no purpose other than to once again give him an opportunity to display his arrogance and lack of intelligence, and for Blair to again show us that he does not understand the British people. We do not need any more spin. What we need is honest leadership, something that Bush is totally incapable of providing.
Just as in America, many people in England turn up to cause trouble. Not to protest. The Worldwide Communist Workers Party always complains about the human rights it would trample and distend if placed in power through a surrogate movement and party. Ever notice how disrespectful, personal and degrading liberals present their arguments and protest?
Matt Senneff, San Clemente, USA
It is wrong to give President Bush the full approval of the British Nation that a state visit signifies. The reason is simple, he just isn't a good enough President, politician or person to deserve the accolade. Sorry George but if you are the best the USA has, then God Help America.
David May, Glossop, England
I think President Bush should stay away - with to-days technology would does Blair and Bush have to say that they couldn't do via teleconference? Why waste tax payer money on security when it could be used to help the poor in the UK.
Ann G, Nepean, Ontario, Canada
I attended the anti-war demo in Berlin in February. The general feeling was one of discontent with the reason(s) for war and that no clear plan for a post-war Iraq had been detailed. More casualties have been suffered after the war than during, and still no plan has been publicly laid down. Is this possibly owing to the fact that Bush and buddies (incl. Blair) had not spared thought that the aftermath could/would be as devastating as it, almost every day, proves to be. I find it an insult to the people of GREAT Britain that he spares time for a visit and not every waking hour to put a stop to the deaths of soldiers.
Chris Fletcher, Bomlitz, Germany
In the history of mankind freedom has never been handed over on a plate. Great sacrifices were made by every nation. It is surprising that the opposition to this war came from around Iraq and not from within Iraq. It is easy to criticise the war when one has not spent a single day under Saddam but a fair judgement can only be passed by someone who could only dream of freedom while he lived under Saddam.
Sajid Khan, Boston, USA
Having just read that Bush's visit is the "first full state visit by a US leader since Woodrow Wilson in 1918" it makes me ask this question - what does this say about this special relationship we're supposed to have? And isn't it sad that it takes a terrible situation like this to bring on their first official visit in 85 years?
Nigel, London UK
As this thoughtful exchange of prejudices gets increasingly polarised, may I assure my own American friends that when I go marching next Thursday, I will not be protesting against America the country, or George W Bush the person - but specifically against the unprincipled, illegal adventure he led his country into by invading Iraq?
I will also, just as fervently, be protesting at the way Tony, his enthusiastic crony, threw my own country into that war too: at a time when opinion polls suggested that 60% of us here opposed it.
John Bull, England
Isn't it time you Brits learned the difference between anarchy and free speech?
Fran Eldred, Louis, MS, USA
No I will not be protesting. I believe that given the choice the majority of people in this country support America, Bush and our close relationship with the USA. This again is the media hyping a vocal very small minority of people for the sake of a 'good story' and reflecting their own prejudices.
Terry, Burgess Hill, UK
George W Bush is a good man. The campaign of insults that is being carried on against him personally is unworthy of the British people. I can understand the pain and resentment that some people feel for their very personal loss. The rest of us should remember that Americans are dying for this cause of freeing Iraq; the American ways of doing things may upset some people and can be criticised for their ineffectiveness. But let us all credit the good intentions and commitment that Bush has shown in huge measure.
Wendell Thomas, Dinas Powys, Cymru
It disgusting the amount of hatred felt towards Bush and America. Here's to the 59.9 million who wont be protesting. I presume that the idiots who will protest will do so peacefully and allow the rest of us to go about our daily business without interruption. On behalf of the vast majority - welcome to Britain.
I think it's disgusting that George Bush will be staying at Buckingham Palace. The royal family is already in enough trouble as it is, without Tony Blair inviting some warmongering president to stay with them. The Royal Family are supposed to be for the people of Britain and for the Queen to be entertaining a man who started a war that the majority of us opposed sends the wrong message out to their "people"
Annie Hall, Amsterdam, Holland
I will be there to support President Bush and demonstrate against the demonstrators.
Gerard Howells, Colwall, England
I think it's a good thing that the Iraqi people are no longer under Saddam but Bush's Administration doesn't appear to have any real respect for the Iraqi culture - during the looting oil was protected but not the national museum. Bush's troops do not appear to have been adequately trained for peacekeeping. He has dropped his fellow Americans into an extremely difficult situation without proper support.
Jane, Kent England
In the United States we are now ruled by a plutocratic oligarchy, rule by a wealthy few. I would love to be able to visibly protest Bush during his UK visit. In the US, anti-war protestors were not allowed anywhere near Bush. And our media failed to report the many organized protests immediately before and during the war. At best, the protests were mentioned almost as an afterthought. I hope you have better luck than we did....being heard. Nothing would make me happier than to know that your streets are flooded with protestors.
Wendy, Quakertown, PA
If 100,000 people turn out to protest, that means about 59.9 million people didn't. This is clearly one of those stories that the media in the UK are "sexing-up".
Dave Mate, Oxford, England
Correct me if I am wrong but I thought that Blair was following the same politics with Bush so why is Bush the evil man and Blair is not? Both countries have troops in there so what makes UK different?
No, and it's ridiculous for others to protest. Bush knows what people around the world think. Bush also knows what the American people think and to him, that's all that matters. He will do what his country thinks is best for Iraq. Who knows, they could be right. It took years to fight and then clean up after WW2. Time will tell about the success of things in Iraq.
Yes, the President should and be able to visit London if he desires. He must be willing to hear and observe what the protesting citizens are expressing. Democratic life can not exist for person or nations and leaders that hide from issues and confrontations in a civilized manner. President learn about this in Australia, he may want to learn in person in the UK now - Whatever the lesson, it's good for democracy, it is good to wet the roots of the democratic tree of life in freedom.
Bern R Rodriguez, Colorado Springs Co.
Regardless of right-to-protest and is-he-welcome issues, one of the biggest concerns that the people in charge have is over security. Large, angry crowds in open public spaces are great places for assassins to hide. This president is probably in more danger from would-be assassins, particularly at this point in time, than many other state leaders in history.
Unfortunately the usual people jump on the anti-Bush bandwagon in the UK. They complain that their right to protest is infringed. What about my right to travel through London without another protest stopping my path?
When Mr. Bush was in Australia, while being heckled, he replied back, "I love free speech". And yet, before his visit to London, he pressed the British government to close down a large part of London so he wouldn't have to face the British protesters who want to express their freedom of speech. The only thing Bush will accomplish on is trip to England is to show that he can be a hypocrite in England as well as in the rest of the world.
Roy M., Reno, USA
Looking at history, peace protesters don't bring peace, soldiers do. What if USA had chosen not to bring peace to Europe, which had been fighting for over 2000 years, much like the middle east. It takes guts and determination which we have seen in Churchill, Reagan, Thatcher and now Bush and Blair to bring real peace in the world. It is hard to figure out why some in UK would protest against the nation that kept their freedom.
Andrew Evans, Greenville SC - from Yorkshire
George W. Bush has been sheltered from "bad news" all his life, first by his family, now by his staff. Americans are prevented from protesting in his view. I hope the British protesters can finally reach him and maybe plant the idea in his tiny brain that Everything is NOT OK and War is Not the Answer!
Mad Mary , Quincy MA
Why do so many people on this site suggest that the protestors like Saddam? If Bush came to the Netherlands, I would protest as well. I didn't like the war in Iraq. Iraq wasn't a threat to anybody except its own citizens, so I would protest the war, sure. But I would also protest other of Bush's policies: his tax cuts designed to cut services needed by people not born into wealthy oil families; his stupid misuse of public funds to get a million dollar photo-op on a docked aircraft carrier; his weakening of environmental policies; his obsession with secrecy and cutting access to public documents; his dismantling of civil freedoms; his sticking prisoners of war into dog cages in Cuba without the right to an attorney or to the rights granted under the Geneva convention on war; his energy policies that favour old methods and old cronies; his attempt to cut the Foreign Earned Income Exemption! (can anyone say "double taxation"?). The list of awful things that Bush has done is legion. Protest away!
Kym, The Hague , Netherlands (from US)
I just don't think the Americans fully appreciated the depth of feeling about the Iraq Conflict. I was against George Bush's proposal for war from the start, but once Blair folded I felt that I should support our troops. However winning the Peace is proving much harder that those military strategists in the US ever thought. I don't want Bush here and maybe he should be diverted to Italy to comfort the families of their troops who were recently killed! I think as a nation we should register our disgust at Mr Bush and his heavy handedness/ineptitude.
Jonathan Hume, London - UK
Tony Blair has crossed the Atlantic to meet Bush in America, it seems right that the President shows respect for the Prime Minister by travelling to London to meet with him. What's wrong with protests? Protest away! As for the extra security, all you have to do is read the opinions on this page to see that in England the President himself is personally hated as much, if not more, than his policies. He has to be protected.
Steve, Boston, USA
You guys do realize that next week is the 40th Anniversary of JFK's assassination and Tam Dalyell's on TV here suggesting that Bush might be shot by the protesters? Security is tight for a reason.
Mary Kuchlenz, San Francisco, California