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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
Bush visit prompts protests threat
George Bush, Prince Philip, the Queen and Laura Bush at the palace in July 2001
Laura and George Bush will be staying at Buckingham Palace
The US President George W Bush is to make a state visit to Britain in November, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday.

His wife Laura will accompany him on the trip, during which they will stay at the palace.

Mr Bush is likely to require tight security for the visit, which is his first since the war against Iraq.

The chairman of the London-based Stop the War Coalition, Andrew Murray, warned Mr Bush would be dogged by demonstrations.

His ally and coalition partner in the invasion, Prime Minister Tony Blair, is already embroiled in deep controversy at home over his role.

Mr Blair's office said it regarded the visit as an "important opportunity to deepen our close relationship with a close international partner".

Controversy intensifies

Mr and Mrs Bush had lunch at Buckingham Palace on 19 July 2001, during their last trip to London.

The President met Mr Blair in Northern Ireland in April, and the prime minister has since made several visits to Washington - most recently on 17 July.

Anti-war demonstration
Anti-war protesters say Mr Bush "dragged the UK into the war"

Mr Bush is now himself facing mounting domestic criticism of his administration's handling of the situation in Iraq.

Several Democrat candidates are hoping to stand against him in the next presidential race, on an anti-intervention platform.

"Millions of Britons who opposed the war which George Bush dragged us into will be horrified at this news and believe the invitation should be rescinded immediately," Mr Murray said.

"If he does visit Britain he will be met by demonstrations and protests every day."

Mr Murray said anti-war activists were expecting tens of thousands of protesters to join a march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday.


SEE ALSO:
At a glance: Blair-Bush summit
08 Apr 03  |  Politics
Bush visits the Palace
19 Jul 01  |  UK News


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