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Mass protests greet Bush across Europe

Published Jun 15, 2007 7:55 PM

Wherever President George Bush went in Europe this June, whether he was meeting with G8 leaders, Pope Benedict, presidents or opposition leaders of NATO allies, or rightist officials in the former socialist countries, he provided an excellent reason for the people to come out in the streets, often in massive numbers.

Rostock, Germany, June 9.
Photo: Marx21

The largest protests, and rightly so, were at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm June 2-7, near Rostock on the north coast of eastern Germany. Leaving Vladimir Putin’s Russia aside for the moment—Russia is an undesired but necessary invitee—the G8 are really the G7—the seven countries with the strongest economies. They call themselves the seven most industrialized countries, but they are really the seven most powerful imperialist countries, with the U.S.—which spends nearly half the world’s outlay on its military—by far the most powerful.

Rostock, Germany, June 2.
Photo: Gabriele Senft

When the G7 meets, it is to decide the best methods for intensifying the pillage of the rest of the world, especially of what has been called the Third World or the South, and the exploitation of the world’s workers, including those living within their own boundaries. Through the G7’s decisions, millions die daily of disease and starvation throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America, and jobs and services are lost in the imperialist metropolises, and bombs have fallen on capitals of the Middle East and the Balkans. Thus instead of considering this a meeting of world leaders, it provides a more accurate picture to think of it as a gathering of organized crime captains, each one with private interests, but joined in their common goal of robbing humanity, and Bush as the head of all these captains.

Some 80,000 people from all over Europe gathered near Rostock, some staying for days as with earlier anti-globalization demonstrations, to protest G8 and Bush’s visit. The German state mobilized 16,000 cops of various forces to keep these protesters from disrupting the meeting of the criminals. Cops opened the attacks on the protesters with clubs and gas and injured and arrested hundreds.

Rome, Italy, June 9.
Photo: Domenico Ciardulli

While there is some debate in the European movement over the tactics of the more militant of the demonstrators, few from outside the continent could be concerned that unarmed demonstrators threw stones at cops who were protecting the most pernicious gathering of thieves and murderers on the globe.

The next largest protest was in Rome, where at least 40,000 people gathered on June 9 to protest Bush’s visit. The protesters targeted Bush, but also the Italian government led by Romano Prodi. This “center-left” regime has pulled Italian troops from Iraq, but has sent others to Afghanistan and Lebanon in an attempt to remain welcome in the imperialist club. Despite Prodi’s submission, Bush paid him the insult of holding an unprecedented private meeting with opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi, the rightist former premier and media magnate.

Prague, Czech Republic, June 7.

Bush also visited the right-wing government in the Czech Republic and the far-right regime in Poland to reinforce their decision to accept the U.S. bases using missile shields. In both countries, which Bush calls “democracies,” the population hates having the missile shields, as these weapon systems threaten Russia and could become targets for counterattack.

Thus in Prague, at least 2,000 protested Bush’s visit organized by the “No to Bases” organization, and another few hundred protested outside the U.S. Embassy, organized by the Communist Youth Movement (KSM), that the “democratic” Czech government has outlawed.

“We are here to protest against the building of a U.S. radar base in the Czech republic, against the policies of the American government on this issue, against the position of the Czech cabinet on the base,” one of the organizers, KSM chairman Milan Krajca, told Xinhua on June 7.

In Poland, where the far-right regime depends completely on U.S. support, hundreds gathered in Jurata, near Gdansk, where Bush was meeting with Lech Kaczynski to discuss how to set up the missile bases despite the adamant opposition of the Polish population.

Only in Albania, where a far-right regime even weaker and more beholden to U.S. imperialism than those in Poland and the Czech Republic rules, were there no public protests of Bush.