Rice tour greeted with protests

Protestors have greeted the US Secretary of State as she started her tour of England on Friday.

Condoleezza Rice used a side entrance at a school in Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's constituency and said she was not surprised that there were protestors outside the Blackburn school.

Although greeted with chants of "Condoleezza Rice go home," and "Who let the bombs out?", Ms Rice said that people had the "right to protest" as that was democracy in action. She said that she was impressed with the warm welcome she had received.

Amid heavy security Ms Rice's cavalcade visited the north-east England town of Salmesbury where defence contractor BAE Systems has a major complex.

When asked about the technology dispute over a fighter aircraft contract she said that she was sure the matter would be resolved "between friends".

However, a planned visit to a mosque has been scrapped earlier, over concerns that there could be protests inside the building. It is reported that Muslim leaders had withdrawn an invitation to Ms Rice over safety fears.

The two-day trip, an exchange visit as Jack Straw had visited Ms Rice's hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, has angered anti-war protestors.


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