10.23.2009

war criminals at large in montreal



From Canadian Press, in Metro.
As George W. Bush cracked jokes with a business crowd inside a hotel ballroom Thursday, hundreds of people outside the building cheered while he was being burned in effigy.

Police in riot gear and others on horseback held back a crowd of hundreds, including many people who tossed shoes at Montreal's historic Queen Elizabeth Hotel in a demonstration of disdain for the man speaking inside.

Protesters who tried forcing their way through the line of shield-and baton-carrying police were wrestled to the ground and arrested.

Montreal police said several officers were hit by flying objects, but none were injured. Five people were arrested for mischief and disturbing the peace.

Ironically, this demonstration took place outside the same hotel where John Lennon's antiwar anthem "Give Peace a Chance" was recorded in 1969.

Chants of "George Bush terrorist" echoed in the street as protesters lashed out at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal for rolling out the red carpet for him.

Some of the 300 protesters said he should have been arrested and charged with war crimes instead.

Inside the hotel, nearly 1,000 spectators paid as much as $400 to hear Bush speak during the latest stop on his Canadian tour.

He got a standing ovation when he first took the podium to address the eager audience.

"I believe in free speech - except not today," he quipped, drawing laughs and a huge applause.

Many in the highly supportive crowd guffawed at most of Bush's jokes. The first 10 minutes of his 37-minute speech could have been mistaken for a standup routine.

In his first visit to Montreal, the former U.S. president warmed up his audience by referring to local hockey legends Maurice and Henri Richard.

"I was an avid sports fan (growing up) and I actually knew who the Rocket and the Pocket Rocket were," Bush recalled of his childhood days in the "deserts of west Texas."

Other cracks were more of the self-deprecating kind.

"Look, I hope you can understand me - I can't understand you," Bush joked through his thick Texas accent.

"As you might remember, during my presidency some of my critics made it clear that English was not my long suit." [More here.]

7 comments:

John F said...

He should add a wacky Abu Ghraib slideshow to his act. He'd have his target audiences rolling in the aisles!

Nitangae said...

his is what I don't understand:

I realize that not everybody wants him to be arrested as a war-criminal. But even so: who gives $400 to listen to Bush speak? For what purpose? This is all very strange.

When he came to Calgary several demonstrators were arrested for "resisting arrest." Somewhat circular reasoning - I wonder how many of the charges laid in Montreal will actually be dropped - i.e. the only reason for arrest was to harass and humiliate the demonstrators.

Is this the second time post-presidency that the war criminal has come to Canada? Somehow, he is never in a spot near me, so I cannot demonstrate against him.

John F said...

When he came to Calgary several demonstrators were arrested for "resisting arrest."

Resisting arrest was the ONLY charge on which they were arrested? Doesn't that create an infinite regress that eventually gobbles up the credibility of the justice system?

L-girl said...

Is this the second time post-presidency that the war criminal has come to Canada?

It's at least the third time. He was in Toronto, appearing with Bill Clinton. Tickets for "A Conversation with Two Presidents" went from $500 to $2500.

There was a great protest. I blogged about it a lot, I will look for some links.

L-girl said...

He should add a wacky Abu Ghraib slideshow to his act. He'd have his target audiences rolling in the aisles!

It's disgusting, isn't it. He ought to be making license plates next to Dick Cheney. Instead men like Cliff Cornell and Robin Long go to prison.

And yes, the "resisting arrest" charge by itself is straight out of Kafka.

L-girl said...

I don't know how many of these links are still working, but my post about the Bush protest is here.

Nitangae said...

I should be honest and admit that I don't know if "resisting arrest" was the only charge. The funny thing is that it was the only charge mentioned in the newspaper article which I read about his Calgary speach.

And, as you all noticed I am sure from the article on his Montreal speach, newspapers are quite happy to mention, for instance, that police were hit by things that didn't hurt them (leaves? pieces of paper? their own hands? Why is that even newsworthy?) so I cannot imagine that the newspapers would have concealed a real charge if it existed.