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Bush hecklers ordered out

Brown interrupts Bush's address on Thursday with his protest.
Brown interrupts Bush's address on Thursday with his protest.

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Facing criticism both inside and outside the Australian parliament, the U.S. president defended the war in Iraq.
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CNN's Richard Quest talks to one of the senators who disrupted U.S. President Bush's address to the Australian parliament.
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George W. Bush
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Cuba)

CANBERRA, Australia (CNN) -- Two Australian senators were ordered ejected from parliament for heckling U.S. President George W. Bush's address to lawmakers, but the American leader shrugged off the interruption and won applause by saying "I love free speech."

Anti-war politicians from the minority Australian Greens Party, Sen. Bob Brown and Sen. Kerry Nettle, jeered Bush during his speech, forcing him to stop his address.

"I love free speech," Bush said as the senators were ordered out of the chamber.

Both Brown and Nettle refused to leave. Brown even shook Bush's hand after the address that was capped by a standing ovation while Nettle tried to pass the U.S. president some papers, which Bush refused.

Brown -- an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq and a campaigner to have two Australian nationals held at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay returned to Australia -- interrupted Bush as the president was talking about the end of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

"I didn't shout anything, I spoke very loudly so that President Bush got the message about the two Australians who are illegally held at Guantanamo Bay after President Bush repatriated the four Americans from that hell hole," Brown told CNN.

"But I did say to President Bush, 'Respect Australia. Return the Australians to this nation for justice and if you respect the world's laws, the world will respect you.'"

The son of Australian terror suspect Mamdouh Habib -- who is being held at Guantanamo Bay on suspicion of training with al Qaeda -- was removed from parliament's public gallery. It was not clear what the son, Ahmed, who was an invited guest of the Green Party, did to get thrown out.

While many of the main opposition Labor Party shared similar anti-war sentiments with Brown and Nettle, they had been ordered by Labor leader Simon Crean to behave themselves during the speech.

Crean told Bush that though Labor opposed the war, the bond between the Australia and the United States was strong.

"Your presence here today reminds us that the partnership between our two great nations is broad -- it's deep, it's many sided, it's long-standing and, in its fundamentals, it is bipartisan," Crean said in his welcoming address.

Outside the parliament, an anti-war demonstration turned ugly with protesters scuffling with police.

At least three people were arrested after protesters broke through security netting near the U.S. embassy, local media reported. But they were forced back by a strong police presence.

Thousands of protesters then marched to Prime Minister John Howard's official residence, where he was hosting a barbecue for Bush.

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