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Saturday, 2 February, 2002, 01:57 GMT
Protesting in New York
Protesters in New York
Protesters have discussed what is appropriate
Kevin Anderson

New York is slowly returning to normal following the 11 September terror attacks on the city that saw the twin towers of the World Trade Center destroyed.

But with the expected arrival of thousands of protesters on Saturday to demonstrate against the World Economic Forum, some New Yorkers and some of the estimated 4,000 police providing security are questioning whether the protests are appropriate.

Protest organisers, some worried that violent confrontations with police might do their movement more harm than good, have worked hard to keep the demonstrations peaceful and promise more colour than confrontation.

Protester holds sign 'I thought activism was a team sport'
The protests have been small thus far
Eric Laursen of Another World is Possible, one of the main protest organising groups, said he and many other organisers were from New York and had felt grief and shock following the attacks.

"We have discussed what tactics are appropriate for this occasion," he said.

Organisers want the focus to be a peaceful march and have worked hard to ensure that groups who want to engage in more confrontational protest do not do so at the march.

The main protests are not until Saturday, but a small group of protesters gathered outside a large Gap store on Fifth Avenue on Friday.

They were protesting what they said were sweatshop conditions faced by garment makers.

The media savvy protestors put a post-11 September spin on their message. They handed out a flier saying: "Fight terrorism, end global injustice: become a consumer of conscience!"

Police guard a Gap store
Police defended the right of the demonstrators to protest
The flier added: "For lasting security, we must end the global injustice and planetary destruction that cause misery, famine, anger, resentment, terrorism and war."

Across the street from the Gap store, a small band of about a dozen protesters drummed on everything from snare drums to large empty plastic water bottles.

Police lined the windows of the Gap store and other stores in the area.

One woman stood in front of the Gap store and questioned why police were allowing passers-by to walk in front of the store but kept protesters behind barricades or asked them to move along.

That was the extent of confrontation at the protest.

'They have a right'

Mike is originally from Coney Island but now lives in Texas. He had little patience for the protests. "The city is still dealing with what happened," he said.

Gina, who was with him, said that the protesters might be harming their image with the wider public. "It's a valid reason to protest, but I think it will hurt their cause. Too many people were hurt by the attacks."

Police defended the right of the protesters to make their opinions heard, but some questioned whether it was appropriate considering the attacks.

One officer, who wore a silver pin with the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the words United We Stand, said: "It's New York City. They have a right to do it. Do I think it is appropriate? I don't think so."

Another officer said he had no problem with the protests "as long as they are peaceful".

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