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Jason Holliston
 
Monday, December 01, 2003  
The Inevitable Protester

I was lucky enough to be in town for President Bush's visit to Britain, with all the pomp, circumstance, and spectacle that such an event implies in this day and age. My friends and I were -- incredibly -- on the ball enough to make it to Buckingham Palace to see the public display of the Queen's men in front of President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Queen Elizabeth. Through the gates, it was difficult to make out who was who, unfortunately, but we had a front row seat for the parade of horses-mounted men, the playing of the Star Spangled Banner and God Save the Queen, as well as 41 cannons firing off. It was a great sight, especially for someone who lives far away from Washington, D.C., and hasn't had a chance to see such State rituals.

Of course, there were the token protesters -- in fact, three of them. The media was all over the place, almost outnumbering the public onlookers, and they didn't seem too excited until a bloke took out a bull horn and started with some anti-Bush chant. Two more people next to him sounded out their planned chant, and immediately the press centered on them. They were quieted down pretty quickly by some police standing by, and that was that. That next morning I read the paper, and the first paragraph made a big deal of the protesters. Not too surprising, given how much I read the news and analysis, but when you're there to see both sides of the spin first hand, it's amazing. Three people chanted and held signs, and probably 75 people were giving their respect. I guess giving your respect doesn't make a good story.


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