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Thousands Protest Bush Visit to Denmark

Thousands of Danish demonstrators gathered outside the US Embassy in Copenhagen on Wednesday to protest a visit by President George W. Bush amid one of the biggest security operations Denmark has ever seen.

President Bush, en route to the Group of Eight summit in Scotland, stopped in Denmark on Tuesday and Wednesday to thank the government for its continued participation in the Iraq war and reconstruction effort, Ritzau news bureau reported.

Denmark's center-right government is a staunch supporter of the Bush administration and has committed about 570 troops in Iraq, most involved in training Iraqi security forces based in the southern part of the country.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, like British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has resisted public pressure to withdraw military forces from Iraq.

Recent surveys have shown a majority of Danes view Bush unfavorably, and authorities and organizers expected as many as 20,000 people to participate in the anti-Bush demonstration Wednesday through downtown Copenhagen.

The rally kicked off as Bush left Denmark after a 17-hour visit and headed to a G-8 summit in Gleaneagles, Scotland.

Nine demonstrators were wearing orange jump suits and ankle chains to protest the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Protests began on Tuesday evening, hours before Bush arrived on his fourth trip to Europe this year.
In the capital, some 200 protesters, mostly black-clad youths, marched to the US Embassy, shouting "Death to Bush, death to imperialism."

Surrounded by an even higher number of police officers, the protesters burned Danish and American flags and an effigy representing Bush as they marched in pouring rain.

Two people were arrested, but there was no violence, police spokesman Flemming Steen Munch said.

More than 2,000 police officers have been deployed to block off streets and keep an eye on demonstrators in one of the biggest security operations the Scandinavian country has ever seen.

(Xinhua News Agency July 7, 2005)

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