by Shaista Aziz
Tuesday 21 October 2003 2:16 PM GMT
Antiwar activists are claiming a first round victory over attempts to stop President Bush's first state visit to the UK.
President Bush, visiting London in November for a three days, was looking forward to meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
This was to have entailed a grand procession along the Mall with all the pomp and ceremony of a state visit, but it has been cancelled over fears that antiwar campaigners would stage a colourful and angry protest to overshadow the event.
The President was also due to address the Houses of Parliament and House of Commons on his three day visit. However, that too has been cancelled.
Peace activists claim that both have been dropped over concerns that anti war MPs would boycott the session, causing embarrassment to Tony Blair.
Bush aides expected that the US president would get the same VIP treatment extended to Russian President Vladimir Putin during his four-day state visit in June. However, that looks extremely unlikely now from a security point of view.
Downing Street told Aljazeera.net that they were unable to confirm 'speculation' over plans for Bush's state visit.
However, a Downing Street insider confirmed "things are not going according to plan" because of the hostility towards the Bush administration.
Jubilant antiwar campaigners have vowed to keep up the pressure and demand that the invitation for President Bush's visit to London is retracted.
John Rees, spokesman for the Stop the War Coalition told Aljazeera.net that protesters are determined to prevent the state visit.
''We have already achieved a fantastic victory by preventing Bush from addressing Parliament.
"We are outraged that this war monger has been invited to the UK and we will work hard at ensuring that the antiwar voices are heard'', he said.
Peace campaigners from across the UK are already holding meetings ahead of the visit, to organise demonstrations and actions.
See Telegraph article on the same topic: