November 19, 2003 17:23

THOM YORKE LEADS PROTEST OVER BUSH VISIT

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RADIOHEAD’s THOM YORKE is spearheading a growing chorus of protest aimed at US President GEORGE BUSH’s visit to the UK – branding him and TONY BLAIR "liars".

Bush and a massive entourage came to London this week (November 18) for a rare state visit. Even before he arrived the trip provoked fury, with reports that US security officials wanted to create a three mile ‘exclusion zone’ around him, effectively shutting down central London and stopping legitimate protesters from getting anywhere near the President.

Angry at what he sees as using the "threat of terrorism to suppress whatever they choose", Thom Yorke e-mailed NME last week, urging people to protest against the visit.

When asked why he’d chosen to speak out, Thom told NME: "To make Blair squirm over his decision to take us into a illegitimate war (In Iraq) and follow this religious lunatic (Bush) toward a dangerous future for the whole planet.

"Both of these men are liars. We have right to call them such, they are putting our children’s future in jeopardy. They are not controlling the terrorist threat, they are escalating it. Blair will not be allowed off the hook by his pathetic pleading for us to ‘move on’, neither shall Bush."

Thom continued: "(The visit) will be heavily staged I think. I expect they will use the threat of terrorism to suppress whatever they choose, intimidate and arrest whoever they wish. The majority of British people were against this war, and Bush's visit will just taint Blair even further."

While in the UK Bush will be staying in Buckingham Palace. Yorke urged the Royal Family to "do something useful" and protest too. He continued: "This is a royal invitation isn't it? How about one of the little heirs to throne doing something useful with their lives and speaking out? Refusing to shake hands for example? As we are still awaiting the results of the Hutton Inquiry I think now is a good time to remind Blair that he's on very very very very very very very very thin ice."

Anti-war protesters Damon Albarn and Robert '3-D' Del Naja have also spoken out. 3-D told NME.COM: "The state visit of George Bush is an insult to the entire nation. The daily death and chaos in Iraq is escalating. This visit divides our people and our communities. The war on terror has only created more anger, more frustration and more militants. And the country continues to evolve into a future target for extremists."

Albarn added: "We are still at war. We are still good at watching war. What does watching war tell us about ourselves? How does war lead to peace? How does watching war lead to peace? Two million people asked a question on February 15 - Why War? We haven't had an answer yet."

Travis singer Fran Healy also contacted NME.COM. He said: "Terrible timing from our government. WHY NOW? How insensitive is this? Nothing surprises me any more. The whole thing stinks. A three-mile bubble. Impressive. And the great thing is- we pay for it. We pay for all of it and we'll keep paying in money and in lives for a long time to come. I wonder if Bush realises he's the most unpopular man in the world. That is some feat. How does that feel? I am interested to see what happens. The police are gonna have their jobs cut out for them."

CND are helping organise a protest march in London, which assembles tomorrow (November 20) at 2pm on Malet St. The march will go on to Trafalgar Square.

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