Paul's Journal, May 18, 2002
Germany Readies for Bush Protests
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BERLIN (AP) -- More than 100 protests are planned across Germany to coincide with President Bush's visit next week, including one expected to draw tens of thousands of people to Berlin, organizers said Thursday.
A group calling itself "Axis of Peace" is organizing the main Berlin protest for next Thursday, saying it will bring together peace activists, anti-globalization protesters, human rights groups and many others. A group supporting the Palestinian cause is to protest separately, but at the same time.
"We are prepared to show our concern and fears of policies that prepare for war," said Reiner Braun, a spokesman for the protesters.
The groups will also demonstrate against the German government for its "support of American policy," Braun said, adding that the plan is to keep the protests nonviolent.
"No matter how large the demonstrations are, they will also be peaceful," Braun said. "No windows need to be barricaded, and no stores have to be closed."
Berlin police plan to have more than 10,000 officers provide security for the 19-hour visit, which begins Wednesday night and ends Thursday afternoon when Bush departs for Moscow. In Berlin, he is expected to meet German leaders and give a speech.
A U.S. Embassy official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States is satisfied with the security arrangements.
"The cooperation has been outstanding," the official said. "We really work as a team here with the Berlin authorities and we are fully confident in their abilities to protect the president and his delegation."
Protest organizers have set up a Web site, www.bushinberlin.de, to spread the word of their planned actions against "war and neo-liberal globalization."
"Let us make his visit a fiasco with widespread and creative resistance," the page proclaims.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's junior coalition partner, the Greens, stopped short on Thursday of officially endorsing the protests, but released a statement saying the party was concerned with the possibility of military action against Iraq, the U.S. rejection of the Kyoto treaty on global warming and other Bush administration decisions.