India says "F*CK BUSH"
Mar 3, 10:28 AM EST
Three killed at Indian anti-Bush protests
By NIRMALA GEORGE Associated Press Writer
HYDERABAD, India (AP) -- Anger at President Bush swept through parts of India on Friday as protesters burned his effigy and carried posters of Osama bin Laden. Three people were killed in clashes, and 18 were injured.
While most Indians look favorably upon the United States, and though the protests have not been as large as expected, anti-Bush demonstrations have been held in various Indian cities by communists and Muslim groups during his visit.
Violence erupted in the city of Lucknow when dozens of armed Muslims tried to force Hindu shop owners to shut their stores to protest Bush's visit, said Senior Superintendent of Police Ashutosh Pandey. The two sides argued, exchanged blows, and finally shot at each other, killing a Muslim teenager, Pandey said.
Television stations showed shrieking people carrying the injured on fruit carts through narrow streets choked with protesters.
In the southern city of Hyderabad, demonstrators burned an effigy of Bush around the time that he arrived there.
Chanting "Bush hands off India" and "Bush go home," several hundred communist and Muslim demonstrators marched through the city, and shops in the Muslim-dominated Charminar neighborhood were closed in protest. Some 40 percent of the city's 7 million people are Muslim.
Later, some worshippers at a Charminar mosque threw rocks at police after Friday prayers. Officers surrounded the mosque with barbed wire and called on protesters to disperse peacefully. Two protesters and two policemen were slightly wounded, police said.
Also Friday, police in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, a predominantly Muslim Himalayan region, clashed with worshippers protesting the visit. About a dozen people were wounded, police said.
There was heavy security all over Hyderabad, one of India's burgeoning high-tech centers, as Bush arrived in the city for a few hours on the second stop of his visit to India. He then flew back to New Delhi, the capital.
Communist parties and Muslim groups are upset with the growing ties between the two countries and the American presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Still, India topped a global survey on positive attitudes to the U.S. last year carried out by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, with 71 percent of Indians reporting a favorable perception of America.
While there have been numerous protests this week across India against Bush's three-day visit, with the crowds at some totaling tens of thousands of people, the numbers fell far short of the millions that organizers had threatened to bring to the streets ahead of the visit.
In Hyderabad, protesters waving red and black banners marched three kilometers (two miles) to a rally where they burned an effigy of Bush and conducted a mock funeral. Some carried posters of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
"We are protesting against George Bush because he is a warmonger. We are demanding the evacuation of American troops from Iraq," said B.V. Raghavulu, a senior leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
In Srinagar some 5,000 worshippers chanted anti-American slogans and burned effigies of Bush as they emerged from Friday prayers. The worshippers pelted police with stones and bricks.
Police used tear gas to disperse them and the street fighting left about a dozen protesters and policemen injured, said police officer Ali Mohammad.