- The Washington Times - Friday, August 11, 2006

The Metropolitan Police Department says it will likely send officers from its special operations division to a rally today that organizers say is a protest of U.S. involvement in the war in Lebanon.

Demonstrators are scheduled to meet at noon in Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, for a 90-minute rally, then walk to Capitol Hill, according to the Act Now to Stop War & End Racism Coalition (ANSWER) and other event organizers.

U.S. Park Police officials said organizers have a permit, but they could not say whether it was for the thousands that organizers are expecting.

“If we planned according to how many people that groups say they will have, we would have the city shut down half of the time,” said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, a U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman. “So we don’t do that.”

D.C. police officials have no plans to close streets along the march route but said they could have rolling closures as protesters move toward the Capitol.

Organizers said protesters will walk along Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest to 15th Street Northwest, then to Constitution Avenue Northwest. They will return on 17th Street Northwest.

D.C. police officials also said they would assign more officers if the event becomes bigger than expected and that the 19 surveillance cameras along the Mall and other downtown locations have been activated.

Officer Junis Fletcher, a spokesman for the D.C. police, said the cameras were activated because of the heightened terror threat and he assumed they will be on for the protest.

Organizers said protesters will come on buses from such places as Chicago, Michigan and New York and that similar demonstrations will take place in Los Angeles and San Francisco.


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