- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A series of protests — each attracting thousands of participants, organizers predict — is planned fortomorrow’s presidential inauguration, despite a security perimeter likely to keep most of the demonstrators blocks away from the parade route.

Four years ago, for the 2001 inauguration, authorities implemented checkpoints to screen spectators on the parade route in part because activists had promised vigorous protests of President Bush’s contested political victory.

But after September 11, 2001, concerns about homegrown political protests have been eclipsed by an all-out law-enforcement effort to thwart any terror attack.

Conventional anti-administration demonstrators are struggling to find ways to express opposition in a city where security, not political speech, is the priority.

Juliana Landim, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Anti-War Network (DAWN), says her group, an umbrella coalition mostly made up of organizations that oppose the war in Iraq, are planning an 11 a.m. permitted rally at Malcolm X Park in Northwest tomorrow.

It also is planning an unpermitted march down 16th Street and a “die-in” on the edge of Lafayette Park at the end of the presidential parade route.

“Certainly, we would like that the people have access to the parade route,” Miss Landim said.

A group called Turn Your Back on Bush promises that demonstrators from 49 states and all walks of life will line the parade route and turn their backs on the presidential limousine as it passes.

Organizers say the event will be peaceful, and they have urged demonstrators not to respond to hecklers. They say they expect thousands of people to participate in the demonstration, although they would not be more specific in their estimate.

“One of the things that makes Turn Your Back on Bush a unique action is that we won’t know who is participating until the moment it begins,” according to the group’s Web site at www.turnyourbackonbush.org.

One complication that the group has posted on its Web site is that the parade likely will consist of multiple motorcades with limousines.

“To be safe, turn your back whenever a motorcade of black limousines and SUVs is in view and continue until they have passed,” the organizers advise participants.

A group called Act Now to Stop War & End Racism, or ANSWER, was the only protest group granted a permit for a space with an unobstructed view on the parade route. The protest site is on the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue NW at Fourth Street, which is at the start of the parade route.

The group, which plans to construct bleachers and set up a sound system at a cost of about $30,000, says the site can accommodate 10,000 people.

“George Bush, as he rides in the inaugural motorcade, will be forced to pass a large bleacher set up filled with signs demanding ‘U.S. Out of Iraq Now’ … and more,” organizers say on their Web site, www.internationalanswer.org.

A group called Anarchist Resistance has planned a demonstration on the Inaugural Parade route that they pledge will be “one of resistance to, not cooperation with, the authorities.”

The group’s Web site, www.anarchistresistance.org, tells demonstrators to confront police or security personnel who try to screen them or stop them.

“We will not submit to illegal arrests, unlawful searches, or checkpoints,” the site says.

The group plans to meet at 12:30 p.m. on the eastern side of Logan Circle at 13th Street NW between Rhode Island Avenue and P Street.

Organizers originally planned to meet at Franklin Square, but the plans were changed when they learned that Franklin Square will be a police staging point.

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