Saturday, April 29, 2006

The rally scheduled for today by a coalition of more than 150 faith-based and human rights groups to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on the Mall.

Organizers have a permit for 10,000 to 15,000 people, and the rally will be confined to the Mall area between Third and Fourth streets Northwest, said Sgt. Scott Fear of the U.S. Park Police.

Sgt. Fear said additional officers will be on duty, but he expects the rally will be peaceful.

“We don’t anticipate problems,” he said.

Chief Charles H. Ramsey said the Metropolitan Police Department had not made special arrangements for the event, such as the closure of streets, turning on surveillance cameras or putting additional officers on duty.

“The U.S. Park Police … informed us that they won’t need additional support,” he said.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops joined the coalition in asking elected officials to help stop the violence in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have died and millions are at risk of starvation.

“The rally should remind our leaders that our nation cannot remain silent in the face of killings, rape and destruction,” said Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of the Diocese of Orlando, Fla.

A Metro spokeswoman said yesterday the transit agency had no immediate plans to add additional subway cars for the rally. However, she said the agency would monitor the situation and is “capable of adding cars as needed.”

Joseph Weber

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