- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 18, 2003


Plans for Queen Elizabeth II and President Bush to make a triumphant procession along the Mall in London during the president’s state visit next month have been abandoned because of fears of antiwar protests.

The decision by Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office, after consultations with Buckingham Palace, the White House and Scotland Yard, has disappointed the president and his senior aides, a palace official said.

The procession is traditionally the public high point of a state visit by a foreign dignitary to Britain. A senior palace official said yesterday that detailed plans had been made for the parade during Mr. Bush’s Nov. 19-21 visit.

“But [the prime ministers office], anxious about possible antiwar protests from the start, has now decided to pull the plug on it,” the unidentified official said. “We are liaising with the White House, and they have made no attempt to hide their disappointment. They saw it, obviously, as a great photo opportunity.”

President Bush will travel by helicopter to avoid protesters who may line road routes, and he will not address Parliament because of fears of a boycott by members, officials said.

When the visit was announced last month, antiwar campaigners called on Mr. Bush to stay away from Britain and promised protests during his visit.

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