- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 14, 2002

Congested downtown Washington will become even more difficult to navigate this week as thousands of demonstrators arrive for rallies and the local black community stages its Emancipation Day Parade and Festival on Tuesday.
The first demonstration begins tomorrow, when supporters of Israel plan the "We Stand With Israel" rally near the U.S. Capitol. Then there will be a lull in demonstrations until Saturday, when protesters opposed to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank stage demonstrations outside an IMF meeting at the World Bank headquarters on H Street NW near the White House. Other protests and marches are planned for next weekend by groups condemning U.S. aid for Israel.
"We're going to be out there prepared to keep the public safe," said Sgt. Scott Fear, a U.S. Park Police spokesman. "We will be ready for the unexpected."
Tomorrow, officials expect the Metro's Orange and Blue lines to be swamped with demonstrators heading for the pro-Israel rally at the Capitol.
More than 600 chartered buses from throughout the country are expected to arrive at RFK Stadium in Southeast and park there. Passengers will take the Metro to the 1 p.m. rally.
Metro officials said the highest impact will be at three Orange and Blue Line Metro stops: Stadium-Armory, Capitol South and Smithsonian.
"We're very confident we can move these people for the rally on Monday," said Steven Taub, a Metro spokesman. "This is nothing new to us. We're always available to move thousands of people as we have in the past."
He said Metro will have additional personnel at various stations and six-car trains available throughout the system. Metro expects about 75,000 demonstrators.
Tony Bullocak, spokesman for D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, said the administration has been preparing for the rally.
"We don't anticipate any major problems for the pro-Israel demonstration, but we'll be ready for any that do occur," Mr. Bullocak said. "Our relevant agencies are well-prepared and well-drilled to handle any situation that may arise."
On Tuesday, four days of Emancipation Day festivities will conclude with a parade.
Marchers will begin assembling at 8:30 a.m. at Fourth Street NW between Constitution and Independence avenues. At 10 a.m., they plan to march down Pennsylvania Avenue NW to the District Building and Freedom Plaza at 14th Street NW and Pennsylvania.
Emancipation Day is not expected to pose any significant problems for Metro, Mr. Taub said.
However, several streets will be closed. Fourth Street between Constitution Avenue NW and Independence Avenue SW will be shut down from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Pennsylvania Avenue NW between Fourth and 14th streets, and 13th Street between E Street and Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., according to information distributed by Metro.
Beginning at 6:30 p.m., Pennsylvania Avenue between Fourth and 14th streets will be closed for Emancipation Day evening events. All streets are expected to re-open by 10 p.m.
Weekend protests are to begin Saturday morning. Mark Rickling, an organizer with Mobilization for Global Justice, said thousands of protesters are expected for the IMF and World Bank demonstrations. At 11 a.m. Saturday, they will assemble at Murrow Park, which is across the street from the World Bank headquarters.
Also on Saturday at 11 a.m., members of Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER) will gather on the south side of the White House for a rally at the Ellipse. Two hours of speeches and rallies are planned, said organization spokesman Tony Murphy.
The group intends "to condemn the war against the Palestinian people."
At 1 p.m., the group will march toward the Justice Department, between Ninth and 10th streets NW on Pennsylvania Avenue, near the FBI building. The ANSWER protest will end with a rally near the Capitol.
Some streets will be closed Saturday.
Mr. Rickling said his group's demonstrations will resume the next day at Murrow Park, and demonstrations also are planned for April 22.
A week of anti-IMF/World Bank demonstrations in April 2000 resulted in about 1,200 arrests, and officials said their agencies will be prepared.
"Demonstrators are allowed to exercise rights in a lawful manner," Lt. Dan Nichols of the U.S. Park Police said. "We will not tolerate any level of civil disobedience. If it happens, we are prepared to respond swiftly."


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