Sunday, May 08 2005 @ 05:37 PM Central Daylight Time

Thousands of anti-war activists protested on the streets of Masstricht, Netherlands in a reaction to the visits of US President George W. Bush, who is in the Netherlands to pay his respects to those who died in World War II for Dutch freedom.

Protesters said that the man responsible for the Iraq war had no business being in the country on such a day

Bush will attend a ceremony on Sunday to mark the 60th anniversary of Allied victory in Europe at the Margraten battlefield cemetery, 10 km from Maastricht. The cemetery house the graves of 8,300 American servicemen who died there.

Bush met with the protests on his first leg of a four-nation trip which includes Latvia, Russia and Georgia. Police issues permits for 100 demonstrators to be outside the airport for the arrival of the US president. Bush is deeply unpopular in the Netherlands following the Iraq war. Even though the Dutch government were against the invasion of Iraq, they did send troops to Iraq on an eighteen month deployment and withdrew them once that period was up, despite pleas from Washington.

In an opinion poll one-third of those questioned said it would be better if Bush didn't come to the ceremony at Margraten to mark the VE Day anniversary.