WASHINGTON -- Demonstrators who shut down a global trade meeting in
Seattle last year and brawled with police at the Republican National
Convention plan to show up in force for President-elect Bush's inauguration
Organizers insist the protests, for a variety of causes, will be orderly
and peaceful and that any violence will be the fault of police.
''George Bush will not go one block down Pennsylvania Avenue without being
confronted with signs and banners and other creatively done messages of the
movement that says 'No' to the death penalty, 'No' to racism, 'No' to voter
disenfranchisement,'' Brian Becker, co-director of the International Action
Center, said at a news conference Thursday.
''If there is violence that day, it will be because -- as we've witnessed
at so many demonstrations in the past year -- the police decided to engage
in violent behavior against demonstrators,'' he said. No civil disobedience
has been planned, he said.
The issues motivating the protesters range from abortion to abolition of
the Electoral College. Veterans of a growing movement against corporate
globalization from the Seattle protest will be joined by environmental
activists, people opposed to U.S. involvement in Latin America and those
who oppose Bush's contested victory.
Becker said his group requested permits six weeks ago from the District of
Columbia police to allow hundreds to gather at locations in front of the
Justice Department, around the Capitol and along the inaugural route. Their
permits have not yet been granted.
District police would not say whether the permits would be approved. The
Presidential Inaugural Committee and the Bush transition office had no
Adam Eidinger, protest coordinator for the Justice Action Movement and a
demonstrator at both national political conventions this summer, said
police agreed to meet with demonstrators early next week to discuss how to
avoid confrontations that have marked other recent protests.
Many of the demonstrations had been planned well before the contested
presidential election, organizers said, but the recent events in Florida
galvanized their movements.
''Because of the outcome of the election, I think the protests will be much
larger,'' said Eidinger. His group, a coalition of organizations including
those who protested at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
in Washington in April, plans to have small groups of people throughout the
crowd at the inauguration holding anti-Bush signs.
Questioning the legitimacy of Bush's presidency after the contested
election and the Florida recount, many of the signs and posters being
prepared read ''Hail to the Thief.''
''However you look at this inauguration, you will see demonstrators,''
Eidinger said. ''If police attempt to keep people out of the inauguration,
they're going to have to screen every single person that attends.''
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