Sunday June 10 9:29 AM ET
Thousands March in Madrid, Denounce Bush Policies
By Eric Bovim
MADRID (Reuters) - Thousands of Spaniards marched through
central Madrid Sunday in protest against a visit by President Bush, who kicks off his first European tour with a day-long visit to the capital Tuesday.
Security was tight as protestors, carrying banners reading
''Bush Go Home'' and some wearing stickers equating the
president with Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement, blocked the streets.
The march passed off peacefully.
Police estimated more than 3,000 showed up ahead of the
president's arrival. During his six-day-long European trip
Bush he is expected to face European leaders' questions on
issues such as global warming, trade and NATO enlargement.
As a police helicopter hovered overhead, demonstrators shouted ``Bush assassin!'' and a spokesman read a speech blasting Bush on globalization, embargoes against Iraq and Cuba, plans for a missile defense shield, the death penalty as well as a decision to reject the Kyoto global warming treaty.
He also pointed the finger at Spain's center-right Prime
Minister Jose Maria Aznar for seeking stronger ties with the
United States and for hosting Bush.
Gaspar Llamazares, leader of Spain's Communist-lead United
Left Coalition, said it was time for Bush to acknowledge the
concerns abroad about the direction of his presidency.
``This is a good moment for us to let Bush know there is
another culture outside of his country and that his brand of
politics is harmful to the world,'' he told Reuters.
He also stressed his opposition to the death penalty a day
before Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is scheduled to
die by lethal injection.
Organized by a coalition of several dozen leftist and
environmentalist groups, the demonstrators were peaceful
despite their angry rhetoric.
Tuesday night they will hold a second protest in front of the U.S. embassy, although smaller demonstrations appear set for Monday to oppose the McVeigh execution.
The World Bank recently canceled a conference on poverty in
Barcelona, fearing confrontation from anti-globalization
Spanish officials said security would be tight during the
presidential visit but that no ``extraordinary'' measures were being taken.