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“Bums for Bush” protesters won’t turn the other cheek

A game group of Australian anti-war protesters are planning a cheeky protest against a visit by US President George W. Bush — baring their bottoms in what they hope will be a world-record moon.

Police officers stand guard on an elevated road over the Sydney Conventation Centre, the venue of the APEC summit. A game group of Australian anti-war protesters are planning a cheeky protest against a visit by US President George W. Bush — baring their bottoms in what they hope will be a world-record moon.

Organiser Will Saunders said the Friday protest was aimed at lightening the mood in Sydney, a city currently patrolled by 5,000 police and soldiers and divided by a massive steel and concrete fence ahead of the APEC summit.

Police have said they expect violence during a series of protests against the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit which will gather together 21 leaders from around the world.

“There’s this heaviness about the protests,” Saunders told AFP.

“It’s hoped to make the point that protests don’t have to be these terribly heavy serious things.”

The “Bums Not Bombs” group will particularly target Bush, whose unpopular war in Iraq has been strongly backed by Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

The visits by the world leaders, including Bush’s five-day stay at a luxurious 3,500 US dollar per night harbourside hotel, have resulted in road blocks, changes to public transport, and other disruptions in Australia‘s biggest city.

The protest will take place on Friday in Sydney’s Hyde Park, close to where the leaders will be meeting.

In a leaflet to possible supporters, the group calls for 4,000 cheeks — er, 2,000 people — to “tell Bush what we really think about his visit.”

Saunders said numbers for the protest were not yet certain but he had a core group to perform a “21 Bum Salute” to represent each of the countries in the grouping.

“I think there’s certain to be hundreds of people,” said Saunders, who previously attracted media attention when he and another man painted “No War” on the Sydney Opera House in huge, bright red letters on the eve of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The group said it needed 4,000 cheeks to break the previous world record moon. “This is one APEC protest we can all enjoy,” it said.

Bush himself seemed unworried about any of the protests.

“People feel like they want to protest — fine, they can,” he told a press conference in Sydney.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5itXCuMNVA4ujiEZDehc4FpagmQVw

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