SURREY - By 1:45 p.m. Thursday, the crowd of a few hundred protesters appeared to be dispersing from the area outside Surrey Regional Economic Summit in Guildford.
Protesters began lining 104th Avenue in front of the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel shortly after 8:30 a.m., in retaliation to former U.S. president George W. Bush and Bill Clinton being invited to speak at Surrey's economic summit.
By 11 a.m., there were approximately 100 protesters and that number continued to grow over the next two hours.
By 12:30 p.m., approximately 200 protesters lined the street.
Dozens of police officers lined the sidewalk, barricading the entrance to the hotel.
104th Avenue was closed to vehicular traffic from 152nd Street to 154th Street.
Overhead, three RCMP helicopters tightly circled the area.
Several groups came to protest, including Stop War Coalition and Lawyers Against the War.
There were many phrases chanted during the protest, including "Arrest George Bush" and "Do your job, enforce the law."
Protesters expressed their anger at the federal and provincial government for not pressing charges when Bush stepped on Canadian soil, pointing to Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
Various people took to a megaphone that read "9/11 Was an Inside Job" to share their thoughts.
P.J. Lilley, a Surrey mom, was one of those who addressed the crowd.
Lilley said she is horrified that her mayor has invited Bush to speak in her city.
"I don't see that Dianne Watts has any shame," Lilley said.
Lilley said Watts has arranged to pay massive amounts of money to the presidents and has organized a "lunch for the rich."
"I'm really frustrated that she would have the arrogance to bring Bush here to advise us on our economics policy when he has done such a lousy job down there. He has got no advice for us and I'm ashamed."
The Solidarity Notes Labour Choir sang songs during the protest, with lyrics such as "Do you think there will ever be changes?"
One protester held up a shoe on a stick, which he said was meant to represent the Iraqi journalist who was arrested and interrogated for throwing a shoe at George W. Bush.
Shahzad Nazir Khan, with the Fraser Valley Peace Council, held a sign that read "The Most Stupid President in US History."
Khan said he is there to "condemn" Bush's visit to Surrey, pointing to the president's admission in speeches and interviews that he has allowed torture.
"He should not be welcome in Surrey. He should be arrested," Khan said.
Ksenia Orehova came from Burnaby to protest.
She said that Bush is receiving special treatment and other world leaders would be arrested in a similar situation.
"I just feel like there's no justice being served."
Overall, the protesters' message was clear: we don't want George Bush in our country, let alone our city.
Around the time that Bush and Clinton's speech was scheduled to begin, 12:45 p.m., the majority of protesters moved to the middle of the intersection of 104th Avenue and 152nd Street, about a block away from the hotel, creating quite a traffic snarl.
In the intersection, protesters shouted "Dianne Watts. Shame on you."
Meanwhile, no media were allowed in the hotel during speeches by Bush and Clinton.
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