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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 14:20 GMT
Mobile users told to 'chase Bush'
Chasing Bush campaign poster
A poster the campaign is putting up on protest routes
Protesters angry about the "security bubble" around President George Bush on his UK visit are being asked to use gadgets to be heard and seen.

The Chasing Bush campaign is asking people to "disrupt the PR" of the visit by spoiling stage-managed photos.

They are being encouraged to send location reports and images by mobile to be posted on the Chasing Bush site.

"We want to give people a chance to be a visible voice of dissatisfaction," said campaign organiser Tim Ireland.

Not smiling

Technologies like text messaging and weblogs have been successfully used in the past to co-ordinate routes and meet-up points for mass protests.

But the gadgets are now being used more proactively to make protests more visible and disrupt any potential stage-managing of the President's visit.

"We have been described as a second generation smart mob. We are encouraging people to use camera phones and send us e-mails with photos," campaign co-organiser Richard Wild explained to BBC News Online.

"We are trying to spoil the PR, so we are not doing anything directly, but encouraging people to turn their backs in press photos so they can't be used."

The campaign organisers have also asked for people to send SMS updates and on-location reports about President Bush's appearances, and events at protests.

"We want to show everyone in the world we are doing this and we using the web channels to influence mainstream channels as much as possible," said Mr Ireland.

All the messages and pictures will be posted on the website as soon as they are received.

The site has been designed to be low bandwidth so it can be updated in real time via appropriate mobile phones using GRPS or laptops from anywhere, said Mr Wild.

Bush's 'bubble'

The massive security measures for the President's visit are unprecedented. A huge 5m police operation has been mounted with 14,000 officers covering the visit.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected at an anti-war march on Thursday.

Female protester chains herself to Palace gates
Protests about Bush's visit began on Monday
The security measures have been put in place in response to fears about public disorder, but also a heightened terrorist threat from al-Qaeda.

A ring of 700 of the President's own secret service agents and security advisers will surround him in a mobile "bubble" amid fears of terror attacks.

Some newspapers and websites were reporting mobile phone signals could be blocked for fear they could remote-control a bomb.

But Scotland Yard has denied reports that police were considering shutting mobile phone masts during protests.

A spokesperson told BBC News Online they were "not prepared to discuss matters of security".

Although it "would be extremely unusual to do that, and authority would have to be cleared with all the appropriate regulators."


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