- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2003

The troops are massing not for war but for a "No War on Iraq" march in the District slated to begin 11 a.m. tomorrow on the National Mall.

Organizers say they are hoping thousands of anti-war activists will show up in subfreezing weather for the protest, which will feature two hours of speeches followed by a 16-block walk to the Navy Yard in Southeast.

D.C. law-enforcement agencies will increase manpower and close streets where demonstrators plan to march.

Third and Fourth streets from Independence Avenue SW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW will be closed tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and parking will be restricted tomorrow from noon to 4 p.m. on streets along the parade route, according to D.C. police.

"We're treating this like any other protest," said Officer Anthony O'Leary, a D.C. police spokesman.

U.S. Park Police, U.S. Capitol Police and the Secret Service also will provide law enforcement as demonstrators march near property under each agency's jurisdiction.

"We're expecting a peaceful demonstration," said Sgt. Scott Fear, a U.S. Park Police spokesman. "In the past, this group demonstrated peacefully."

All U.S. Park Police officers are working 12-hour shifts, and days off and leave were canceled, Sgt. Fear said.

The one flash point in the day may come when marchers encounter a detachment of Vietnam War veterans posted along the parade route by the Marine barracks at Eighth and I streets SE.

A spokesman for the detachment, Marines and Other Veterans Engaging Un-American Traitors (MOVEOUT), says they have heard that the flag of Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terrorist group, will be carried in the march. It is a bright yellow banner with the group's name spelled out in large, red Arabic script.

"That will be carried right past the [Marine] commandant's residence," spokesman Joe Kernodle said. "If you don't think that is provocative, consider the blood of 233 Marines shed while they were sleeping," referring to the April 1983 truck bombing at the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.

"We have begged the police to have sufficient people down there to prepare for the worst," he said.

Before the march, protesters will assemble at 11 a.m. on the west side of the Capitol for two hours of music and speeches mostly from former Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney, Georgia Democrat; former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark; singer Patti Smith; songwriter and former Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic; Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit; and actors Mike Farrell and Jessica Lange.

The event, sponsored by New York-based Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), also will feature representatives from Muslim and Palestinian groups, labor organizations and pro-choice groups.

ANSWER spokesman Tony Murphy did not return repeated calls for comment but did tell Agence France-Presse, "The vast majority of people in the United States don't want a war, they want money spent on education and human needs and not weapons of mass destruction."

At a late afternoon rally near one of the Navy Yard gates at Sixth and I streets SE, speakers posing as a "people's weapons inspections team" mirroring U.N. weapons inspectors now in Baghdad will demand that all U.S. weapons of mass destruction be eliminated. The Navy Yard is a former shipbuilding site on the Anacostia River now housing a museum, as well as administrative offices for 11,000 Navy personnel.

An opposing rally, sponsored by MOVEOUT, will be held at 9 a.m. at Constitution Gardens at 21st Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Mr. Kernodle noted that instead of reacting to an ongoing war, as Vietnam War-era protesters did, anti-war demonstrators today are trying to pre-empt it.

"The protests in the 1960s took years to reach this point, but here they are flying out of the shoot in top gear," he said. "A lot of the left realizes that because of the overwhelming technology, this isn't going to last very long. So, if they want to get their two cents in, they have to do it now."

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