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Tuesday, 16 January, 2001, 05:27 GMT
Bush faces mass protests
Inauguration practice
Inauguration preparation continues for protestors and police
Organisers are promising the largest protests at inaugural events since the Richard M Nixon's second inauguration when between 25,000 and 100,000 people turned out.

More than a dozen groups have requested permits to protest during the inaugural events, some along the 13-block route George W Bush will travel and others on the Ellipse in front of the White House and in front of the Supreme Court.

Protest organisers are also looking to stage smaller demonstrations that will not require permits. In all, organisers predict 20,000 to 50,000 protestors.

The protests are prompting police to promise the tightest security ever for a presidential inauguration.

Anti-corporate activists

The coalition of groups that burst onto the national stage in Seattle at 1999 meetings of the WTO Ministerial Conference will again be staging protests.

Richard Nixon
The protests are expected to be the largest since Richard Nixon's inauguration
With the rallying cry of "Hail to the Thief", the groups say that George W Bush is anti-women, anti-public education, anti-minority, anti-environment, anti-gay and anti-health care and also that he is pro-prison, pro-execution and pro-corporate interest.

In addition to the broad range of social and environmental issues that have been the hallmark of protests around the world over the last year, activists plan to call for electoral reforms.

"The coalition formed to send the message that President-elect Bush was not the popular choice for president," the groups say on the Justice Action Movement website.

Even before the marches begin Saturday, the groups are doing battle with the Washington police department over what they will be allowed to carry during the protests.

The police have banned stilts and signs on long poles from the parade route, fearing that they might be used as weapons.

'Silenced Majority'
Police have barred stilts and large poles from the protest

In addition to protests by the anti-corporation, anti-globalisation groups, the National Organisation of Women, the Reverend Al Sharpton and a group called the Gore Majority all are organising rallies.

The National Organisation of Women has been upset by some of Mr Bush's cabinet picks, including attorney general nominee John Ashcroft and health and human services nominee Tommy Thompson.

"Feminists will be out in full force at the Inauguration on January 20, reminding Bush, Cheney and the Cabinet nominees that we won't tolerate a roll-back of our rights," said National Organization for Women President Patricia Ireland.

A group called Gore Majority plans to hold a rally along the parade route with signs saying "Silenced Majority."

Civil rights groups led by the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson plan protests in Washington and in Tallahassee Florida.

Reverend Sharpton will march to the Supreme Court in Washington, and Reverend Jackson's Rainbow/Push coalition will the join the NAACP and labour groups on a march in the Florida state capital.

The Rainbow/Push protest will be part of the group's Week of Moral Outrage that began Monday with the holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Junior's birthday.

Counter protests planned

But the protests will not all be critical of the president elect.

Conservative website is organising a "National Patriot's March: Celebrating Constitutional Victory. "

The website encourages people to counter the "more than 300 anti-Everything organisations" protesting Mr Bush's election and attempting to portray his election as illegitimate.

Anti-abortion groups also plan protests calling on Mr Bush to rescind pro-choice executive orders President Clinton signed whilst in office.

Tightened security

Police are promising the tightest security ever for an inauguration.

Some 16 law enforcement agencies will be involved in providing security for the inauguration, and for the first time, the Secret Service will be in overall charge of security for the inauguration.

And for the first time ever at an inauguration, spectators will have to pass through security checkpoints. The checkpoints nearest the White House will include metal detectors.

Police will stand every few feet along the parade route, and for the first time, subway stations will be closed near the parade route.

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10 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Stars come out for Bush party
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