Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts welcomes former United States presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to the 2011 Surrey Regional Economic Summit.

Small, well-behaved crowd protests George W. Bush visit

Former U.S. president among panel of speakers at Surrey Regional Economic Summit.

More than 200 people descended on Guildford this week to protest the arrival of former U.S. president George W. Bush.

Bush was scheduled to join former American president Bill Clinton at the Surrey Regional Economic Summit Thursday at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, at  153 Street and 104 Avenue.

Many people have alleged Bush is guilty of war crimes for allowing torture of prisoners. A small group started to form out front of the hotel around 8 a.m. and by 11 a.m. had reached its full size.

The people attending were a mix of protesters from Vancouver and a sampling of people from Surrey. Organizations participating included Lawyers Against the War, Stopwar.ca, Occupy Surrey and some of the protesters from Occupy Vancouver.

See slideshow

UBC students Chelsea Leslie, 20, and Rebecca Hassan, 19, said Bush should be arrested here and stand trial for alleged war crimes.

Kabal Sandhawhalia, 78, agrees.

He came with a Surrey group called the East Indian Defense Council.

Their spokesperson Harbajan Cheema said about 15 to 20 of the council’s membership came out to the event.

A 30-year-old woman named Kat lives up the street from the protest.

“I’m disappointed in the mayor for defending his coming here,” Kat said.

The crowd marched up and down 104 Avenue chanting, “Arrest Bush Now” and asking RCMP why they wouldn’t arrest the former president.

At one point, the crowd stopped traffic in the intersection of 104 Avenue and 152 Street, continuing the demonstration there. By about 2:30 p.m., most of the protesters had dispersed.

Surrey RCMP said they were pleased with the overall response from protesters at the Surrey Regional Economic Summit. No major incidents occurred and no arrests were made by police.

“Our security plan worked well,” said Surrey RCMP Cpl. Drew Grainger. “The safety of both protestors and participants was kept intact.”

Road closures in the area lasted throughout the day and traffic was rerouted, which caused minor delays.

“We would like to thank motorists, pedestrians, and businesses in the area for their cooperation and understanding of this disruption,” said Grainger.

The Surrey RCMP is hopeful that future events such as this in the City of Surrey will have similar results for public safety.

In addition to Bush and Clinton, this year’s summit featured Pam Woodall, senior economics writer and former Asia economics editor with The Economist; John Fund, columnist with the Wall Street Journal; Michael Levy, founder, president and managing director of Border Gold Corporation; Niels Veldhuis, vice-president of research, The Fraser Institute; and Marc and Craig Kielburger, the co-founders of Free the Children and Me to We.

kdiakiw@surreyleader.com

Just Posted

Surrey 37 per cent behind in housing supply projections

Of 18 cities in Metro Vancouver, only City of North Vancouver and Richmond met or exceeded projections

Winning Christmas card art shown at Surrey gallery

Arts Council of Surrey’s annual competition won by Edwin Stephen and Nancy Painter

Delta police campaign shines a light relationship violence

Campaign comes after a Delta man was charged with assault with a weapon and uttering threats

‘A labour of love’: High school turns into ‘toy shop’ for Surrey Christmas Bureau

Fraser Heights Secondary has been making toys for the non-profit for more than a decade

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Owners of hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside fight $1 expropriation in court

Vancouver City Council voted to expropriate the properties for $1 each in November

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Braille signs coming to TransLink bus stops in 2020

Transit authority says it’s the first to do so in Canada and the United States

CUPE issues 72-hour strike notice for SkyTrain

Local 7000 release states ‘parties are still bargaining’, union will have job action plan by Saturday

Abbotsford man was ‘unintended victim’ of 2018 fatal shooting, police say

Jagvir Malhi, 19, was gunned down while on his way to university

Most Read