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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 13:56 GMT
Protests planned for Bush visit
Stop Bush posters
Protesters want to march through central London
Anti-war protesters say they are preparing for a visit to the north-east of England by US President George Bush.

The President will spend at least one day in the Sedgefield constituency of Prime Minister Tony Blair, during a state visit to Britain later this month.

Mr Bush and his wife Laura are likely to be the guests of the Blairs at the Prime Minister's constituency home in Trimdon Colliery, County Durham.

Although details of the informal visit have yet to be officially confirmed, teams of American security personnel have already toured the former mining villages of Trimdon and Sedgefield.

Peace protesters say they will mount a series of demonstrations in the area when Mr Bush arrives over America and Britain's involvement in Iraq.

Martin Levy of the Stop the War Coalition, said: "We don't think the visit of Mr Bush is a great honour for the North East.

Security operation

"If he comes then there will be people who will do their best to have their protests heard.

"Although I'm sure Mr Bush will be closeted away from any dissenting voices.

"We had a lot of support in the run up to the war and during the conflict and I'm certain we can expect the same again when Mr Bush comes to County Durham."

Durham police are making no official comment until the visit is confirmed.

But the Home Office says the force will be expected to pay for part of any security operation.

Meanwhile, it has already been confirmed that Mr Bush will not be making a trip to Durham City during any visit to the region.

Logistical problems

A flying visit to Palace Green - between Durham Cathedral and neighbouring Durham Castle would have been the perfect photo-opportunity.

But it will not now go ahead because of the logistical problems in effectively sealing off the city for almost an entire day.

The last US president to visit the North East was Jimmy Carter, in 1977.

He toured Washington, near Sunderland as part of America's bi-centenary.

An estimated 5m security operation is planned for Mr Bush's three days in London, involving all its armed units and up to 5,000 police officers.

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