Cheney trip to Sydney draws protest

The Australian government is one of the US's staunchest allies over Iraq.

    Seven anti-war protesters were arrested during the noisy demonstration in Sydney [Reuters]

    Heavy police presence


    A heavy police presence, including officers mounted on horseback, ringed the protesters in an attempt to minimise disruption to peak-hour commuters, some of whom also squabbled with police.


    Protesters held placards saying "Dick Go Home & Take John With You" and "Coalition of the Killing".


    Police later relented and shepherded protesters as they marched towards the US consulate. Another protest is planned for Friday.


    Cheney arrived amid tight security several hours later. He is to meet Howard on Saturday.


    Howard has ruled out following Britain's example and cutting troop numbers in Iraq, but his unwavering commitment has him walking through a political minefield towards an election later this year.


    British pullout


    Cheney's trip to Australia is meant to reassure Washington's allies that Bush's planned injection of 21,500 more troops into Iraq will help quell violence.


    But Britain's promise to soon start withdrawing troops has added to the pressure on Washington's other allies.


    Denmark and Lithuania have said they would pull out their much smaller commitments.


    "Out of Step," the Sydney Morning Herald said in a front-page headline about Australia's Iraq commitment.


    Iraq is a major problem for Howard's conservative government ahead of elections in the second half of 2007, perhaps the toughest of his 11-year tenure.


    An opinion poll this week found 67 per cent of Australians either want Howard to set a date for withdrawing troops from Iraq or pull them out immediately.

    SOURCE: Agencies


     How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    Ninety-nine years since Balfour's "promise", Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed.

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    In the rundown Pedion Areos Park, older men walk slowly by young asylum seekers before agreeing on a price for sex.

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    The story of a most-wanted fugitive and billionaire.