Agence France Presse reports that mass protests on the eve of President Bush's visit by fizzled out, as journalists outnumbered the demonstrators:
A loose coalition of groups opposed to just about everything Bush supports had promised two demonstrations hours before Bush was due to jet into Ottawa Tuesday aboard Air Force One.
The first demonstration -- of Palestinians and sympathisers of the Palestinian cause opposed to Washington's support of Israel -- attracted less than 40 demonstrators.
According to a quick head count by journalists, the protest attracted 39 demonstrators, 42 journalists and television crew members and three police officers.
A second, ostensibly larger, demonstration scheduled for the midst of the evening rush hour -- was called by a group calling itself Students Against Bush.
Nobody turned up.
UPDATE: Canadian Press reports that the protestors managed to show up today:
Protesters clashed with riot police Tuesday afternoon as a crowd tried to move across a bridge to go to the next venue to demonstrate against the visit of U.S. President George Bush.
Scuffles broke out as dozens of police in riot gear and gas masks used shields to hold back activists. The clash occurred outside the upscale Chateau Laurier Hotel, where some of the Bush entourage were staying. Protesters were knocked to the ground and at least one person was arrested and led away.
Some protesters threw placards, sticks, pumpkins and water bottles at police. One tactical officer was covered in red paint.
UPDATE II: I want to thank reader Darren, of Darren Barefoot, commented that the protests were mostly peaceful. Darren point is well taken. The CP article was extensively updated after I linked to it. The quoted passage, while representative of the article when I linked to is not representative of the present version. As Darren noted, "the article reiterates twice that the protesters were mostly peaceful."
Both President Bush and Prime Minister Martin managed to keep a sense of humor about the protests. Reuters reported these quips:
But the two leaders made light of the demonstrations, with Martin remarking jokingly that Bush seemed to draw larger crowds than he does.
"I don't know if that's good or bad," Bush said. "It all depends on who shows up I guess."
In another quip, Bush expressed appreciation for Canadians who greeted him on the route from the airport waving "with all five fingers."