PHUKET TOWN: Around the world protestors are turning out in their thousands almost every day to protest the prospect of a US-generated war on Iraq. There was the protester at a recent international golf tournament who held up a sign saying “Make par, not war”, and a woman in a street demonstration who held a banner saying, “The only bush I trust is mine.” Now Phuket has its own quirky take on war protests. Sixty-five-year-old American John T. Baker, a long-time resident, has been charged by police because he took down an anti-war sign on a wall outside a mosque in Baan Bang Tao. The sign said, in somewhat eccentric English, “Alah…my God, please save all our pained and pure brothers from being ruined by santaic (sic) leader.” Underneath were the words PEACE NOW and an image of two hands shaking, one marked “Bush, USA”, and the other “Saddam, Iraq”. Mr Baker removed the sign and left his business card – and his own sign with the words “No desecration”. Police called him today to the Cherng Talay Police Station, where he was told he faced a charge for removing the sign. Later he told the Gazette that he had put up the “No Desecration” sign because he objected to America being called “satanic.” “This sign only stirs up hatred, not goodwill and peace,” he said. “I’m not a devil. I just think it’s not right. I didn’t burn [the sign]. I just pulled it down. My action was more emotional than political.” Representatives from the mosque were in court late this afternoon as the outcome of Mr Baker’s actions were being discussed. A decision is expected shortly.
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