Splitting the Sky Arrested at Calgary Bush Protest
the Sky Arrested at Bush Protest in Calgary Mar.
I received an email from Splitting the Sky’s wife Sandra Bruderer on Tuesday,
March 17th informing me that he had called her at 11:44 am to say he’d been
arrested by Calgary police and was in jail. As Sandra said, “He was arrested
this morning in Calgary for trying to break the police line and arrest former
President George Bush for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
told his wife that the police could hold him for up to 24 hours.
further stated, “There are people down there trying to get him released. One of
them just called me to say that they have been told that Dac has been released
but they don’t know where. They don’t see him and none of us have heard from him
since. So we don’t believe that he has been released. The Calgary police is
saying that he has been released but he hasn’t.
Tony [Hall] just called
back to say that Dac is still in jail there as someone has been in to see him.
He is being held till tomorrow and is being charged with assault. Dac’s lawyer
Ramsey Clark has been notified. Dac said there were lots of cameras down there
and something should be on the Calgary news tonight.
Protesters greet Bush in CalgaryBy THE CANADIAN
George W. Bush will discuss his eight years in the Oval Office
when he visits Calgary, Alta., Tuesday
CALGARY — The rage on the man’s
face was evident as he berated police officers preventing him from entering the
building where former U.S. president George W. Bush was making a speech
“There is a war criminal upstairs that has committed murder,”
screamed the man, who identified himself only as Splitting the Sky. “If I try to
get in there you will arrest me. What is wrong with you?
“I am going in
there and make a citizen’s arrest,” he said as he attempt to push past police.
“Arrest George Bush. Arrest George Bush.”
A few minutes later he was
handcuffed and hustled past a long line of Calgary’s business elite waiting to
get inside the Telus Convention Centre.
unflattering photo of Splitting the Sky attempting to break through police lines
outside the Telus Convention Centre
in Calgary Tuesday March 17th to make a
citizens arrest of War Criminal George W. Bush. He was arrested soon
organizers say at least four demonstrators were arrested at Tuesday’s
About 60 Calgary police officers were on duty outside to control
between 200 and 300 people carrying signs that read “No to U.S. Crimes Against
Humanity,” “Indict Bush For War Crimes” and “Canada Is Not Bush
Another sign read “Shoe Him The Door” — a reference to the
Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at Bush during a news conference in Baghdad
Two Calgary men showed up at the demonstration to support
the former U.S. president. Their signs read “The World Is Safer Because of
George W. Bush.”
“Thank you, George Bush. Thank you, George Bush,” they
“He doesn’t sit down and negotiate with terrorists,” shouted one
of the men, who identified himself as Merle.
“Try doing this in Cuba,” he
said as he pointed to the jeering protesters.
There were shoes everywhere
during the protest. A young woman wearing a hood, orange jumpsuit and a name tag
that said “Club Gitmo” was pulling a shoe cannon along with a target festooned
with pictures of Bush.
An obviously amused police officer told her to
Some of those opposed to Bush’s visit have said he should be
arrested as a war criminal because of alleged torture at military prisons in
Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.
protester chants slogans outside the venue where former U.S. President
Bush was invited to speak to a crowd of Calgary business people on
March 17, 2009. (Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN
speech was one of the first public appearances Bush has made since leaving the
presidency in January with a dismal approval rating and much of the blame for
his country’s collapsing economy. The speech was closed to the
“It’s not too late to turn back. Walk away,” the demonstrators
yelled to some of the 1,500 guests invited to hear Bush speak to the Calgary
Chamber of Commerce.
A couple of hundred people lined up early to go
through a special security screening room before entering the hall where Bush
A few said the former president has to take some of the
responsibility for what has happened in the United States, but also has the
right to talk about his
Protesters greet George Bush in Calgary
Tue. Mar. 17
2009 8:08 PM ET
The Canadian Press
CALGARY – George W. Bush wooed
a packed crowd at a private luncheon in Calgary with his trademark folksy charm,
while hundreds of protesters outside hurled insults and shoes at the former U.S.
U.S. president George W. Bush, left, speaks with former Canadian
to the United States Frank McKenna at an invitation-only event
March 17, 2009 in Calgary. (AP / TinePublic, Ewan
demonstrators were arrested outside the downtown Calgary convention centre where
Bush spoke for one of the first times since leaving office in January. At the
time, he had a dismal approval rating and was blamed for his country’s
“There is a war criminal upstairs that has committed
murder,” screamed one man, who identified himself only as Splits the Sky. “If I
try to get in there you will arrest me. What is wrong with you?”
affable public persona, subdued by widespread criticism of his administration
near the end of his time as president, was front and centre as he explained his
eight years in the Oval Office.
In his 35-minute speech, he drew ties
between his childhood in rural Texas and life in rural Alberta, including the
common binds of community and family.
Bush poked fun at himself, but also
grew serious when talking about Canada’s role in providing the U.S. with a
secure source of energy.
He also admitted his administration spent its
final days “bailing water” trying to deal with the financial crisis, and said
while there’s no easy answer going forward, more government involvement is not
The event was closed to the media, but many of the 1,500
people who paid $400 a ticket to hear Bush speak stopped to offer their
impressions. Few seemed annoyed by the fact the event started an hour and a half
late due to tight security screening.
“He was very, very candid. He was
witty and witty in a way that you would have to be intelligent to be that
witty,” said Calgary Tory MP Lee Richardson.
“He seemed to have a
remarkable grasp of events and issues that just didn’t come through as
Brenda Kenny, president of the Canadian Energy Pipeline
Association, said Bush emphasized the interconnected, open markets that tie
Canada and the U.S. together.
Peter Yates, a lawyer who has dual
citizenship and voted against Bush in 2004, admitted the former president is
very personable and gave an entertaining speech.
“My feelings are still
the same — he’s a folksy affable guy but I don’t agree with his
Most of the 400 protesters waiting outside showed their
negative feelings for Bush.
Some of those opposed to Bush’s visit have
suggested he should be arrested as a war criminal because of alleged torture at
military prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. Many yelled at police officers for
not arresting Bush on the spot.
Signs read “No to U.S. Crimes Against
Humanity,” “Indict Bush For War Crimes” and “Canada Is Not Bush Country, as well
as “Shoe Him The Door” — a reference to the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe
at Bush during a news conference in Baghdad in December.
Protest sign that should have read: “Go To Jail
men showed up to support Bush, however. Their signs read “The World Is Safer
Because of George W. Bush.”
“Thank you, George Bush. Thank you, George
Bush,” they chanted.
The former president’s speech almost exactly marks
six years since the invasion of Iraq, said organizer Peggy Askin, and it’s not
OK to forget what happened in the ensuing years.
“He shouldn’t be able to
go anywhere in the world and just present himself as a private citizen,” she
said. “We do not have any use for bringing war criminals into this country. It’s
One businessman in the audience said Bush implied he had
some regrets from his time in office, although he didn’t give
“He admitted that maybe there were some things he could have
done differently, but overall he made some sense with the reasons for doing it,”
said George Fink, CEO of Bonterra Oil and Gas.
The 43rd president of the
United States defended his reasons for military action in Iraq and Afghanistan,
“He said if we were in his boots in 9-11, a short time after
he got in, there was a big demand to do something, and he had to react and he
Kenny said Bush seemed eager to explain his views, and he said
he plans to write a book to show what happened during eight very challenging
“I wouldn’t say apologetic, I would say acknowledging that there
was not always agreement and, frankly, just accepting that as a
The Globe and Mail reported on its website that besides defending
his decision to invade Iraq, Bush said “risk takers,” not government, will solve
the world recession and that he had positive things to say about current
president Barack Obama.
“I love my country more than politics,” Bush
“He deserves my silence and if he wants my help he can pick up the
phone and call me.”
On the economy, Bush even though he is a “free market
guy,” he had to step in with a bail-out package in the waning days of his
But he said the government can’t do it
“It’s the risk takers, not the government, that is going to pull
us out of this recession,” he said.
In a question and answer session,
Bush defended the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam
“The world is better off and the Iraqi people are better off
without Saddam, no ifs, ands or buts,” he said.
There were shoes
everywhere during the protest. A young woman wearing a hood, orange jumpsuit and
a name tag that said “Club Gitmo” was pulling a shoe cannon along with a target
festooned with pictures of Bush.
Protesters flung projectile footwear
from the device at the massive photo of a smiling Bush, while others jeered and
tossed sandals and boots by hand.
One of the arrested protesters was
ticketed and released, said police. Three others were charged with more serious
offences — one with breach of the peace and two with obstructing a police
officer and resisting arrest.
Seventy-nine police officers were involved,
but that included traffic members who closed off intersections for the