Widespread media coverage for January 20 - Funds urgently needed

January 20 Update:

Media coverage from NYTimes, NPR, AP & Reuters (see below)
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Funds needed for bleachers, sound, stage & more
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Spread the word about antiwar bleachers at 4th St. & Pennsylvania Ave. NW!

Please share the following articles from the mass media with your friends.

"On inauguration day Pennsylvania Avenue is where the action is" was the lead of the January 13 Morning Edition on National Public Radio. The NPR news story is among hundreds covering plans for the January 20 CounterInaugural demonstration, many following the January 12 press conference held by A.N.S.W.E.R. organizers in Washington DC to announce plans to establish antiwar bleachers along the inaugural parade route at 4th St. and Pennsylvania Avenue NW for the first time in history.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition is the only organization that applied for permits for antiwar demonstrators, who now represent the majority of people in the United States, to be on the inaugural route on Pennsylvania Avenue for January 20. Buses, vans and car caravans are now mobilizing to bring thousands of people from across the country to come to 4th St. and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, where the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition will be establishing antiwar bleachers and holding a rally. Click here for contact information for transportation from your city.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition Logistics Page contains detailed information on bus, van and car parking; public transportation to 4th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. NW; maps; directions; and more. Please check back for regular updates giving you all of the information you need if you are joining the demonstration.

Funds are urgently needed. If you are not able to travel to Washington DC on January 20, there is an important way that you can make a contribution. The cost of bleachers, the sound system, stage, transportation, printing placards and other materials is tremendous. We will need to raise $30,000 in the next few days. We began this fundraising appeal yesterday and we have received a very good response, but we must do more right away. Please make a generous donation. You can make a contribution through a secure server by clicking here, where you can also find information on how to contribute by check.

Below is a sample - from the New York Times, Associated Press, National Public Radio, and Reuters - of the many news stories that have appeared. If stories appear in your local newspapers, television stations or radio, please send copies or reports to [email protected].

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Protest Groups, Too, Prepare for the President's Big Day

January 13, 2005

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 - Just as Inauguration Day planners are doing everything possible to ensure that all events next Thursday celebrate the start of President's Bush's second term, protesters are gearing up to disrupt them.

From nondescript headquarters a dozen blocks from the Capitol, a coalition of groups linked by their opposition to the war in Iraq and other administration policies are organizing their own inauguration events. Those include a determined effort to jeer the presidential motorcade as it carries Mr. Bush from his swearing-in at the Capitol to a reviewing stand at the White House.

"Our goal is to make sure Inauguration Day reflects the great divisions that exist in the United States right now," said Brian Becker, national coordinator for the coalition, known as Answer, which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. "Bush is trying to assert he has a mandate. We will show that a big part of the American people do not believe he has one."

Other groups are also planning demonstrations. At a news conference on Wednesday, leaders of five groups, including the National Alliance of Black Panthers and D.C. Anarchist Resistance, discussed plans that include anti-Bush rallies, marches, a bicycle ride and at least one act of civil disobedience.

The D.C. Anti-War Network is organizing a "die-in" march that it says will end with 1,000 cardboard coffins, representing people killed in recent American military actions, being taken to Lafayette Park, across from the White House.

Only one group described plans to create a presence during the presidential parade. Turn Your Back on Bush, a grassroots organization, is coordinating an effort to have people find spaces at the street curb and turn their backs to Mr. Bush as his motorcade passes.

"A great many people feel Bush has turned his back on them," said Sarah Kauffman, a field director for the group.

Ms. Kauffman and representatives of the other groups said they did not anticipate violence or the kinds of confrontations with the police that have led to mass arrests elsewhere. But Shahid Buttar, a spokesman for the D.C. Resistance Media Collective, which is helping coordinate protest events for dozens of groups, added, "There is a great deal about which no one knows."

Tom Mazur, a spokesman for the Secret Service, which is coordinating security for the inauguration events, said plans already took protest activities into consideration. He emphasized that protesters would be treated respectfully so long as their demonstrations remained peaceful.

As a safeguard, the Secret Service is prohibiting spectators from carrying signs or posters attached to handles.

"Our goal," Mr. Mazur said, "is a safe inaugural for participants as well as the general public."

Mr. Becker's coalition, Answer, has organized 15 anti-Bush events in Washington, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles since 2001, most of them criticizing administration policies in Iraq.

The demonstrations have attracted several hundred thousand people, and some have turned rowdy, leading to many arrests. Last summer, nearly 2,000 people protesting the Republican National Convention in New York, many of them as part of Answer activities, were arrested.

The coalition has always had an overriding aim, Mr. Becker said, to draw attention to policies that many Americans oppose, particularly those that involve military activities in Iraq.

Bill Line, a spokesman for the National Capital Region of the National Park Service, which controls the sidewalk along the parade route, said the Presidential Inaugural Committee, a private organization that is coordinating the major inaugural events, has received permits for most of the prime viewing space along the parade route. Bleachers have been set up, and seats are being sold for as much as $125 each.

Among the other three groups that applied for parade route access, Mr. Line said, Answer received nine permits, the largest number for locations at or near the street, although just two of them provide unobstructed views. The other two groups favor Bush administration policies.

At the larger of the two areas reserved for Answer, near the bottom of Capitol Hill, the coalition plans to make its biggest splash, constructing bleachers and filling them at no charge with people bearing signs that express outrage over the administration's involvement in Iraq.

"I'm not thinking that our presence will have a deep impact on George Bush's thinking," Mr. Becker said, describing an area that could hold as many as 10,000. "But we have a goal of building a movement as people did during the Vietnam War, making it impossible for politicians of any stripe to ignore. Wherever Bush or supporters of the war in Iraq go, we want them to be met by visible antiwar demonstrations."

Mr. Becker said Answer also had serious concerns over the lack of greater public access to unobstructed views of the parade.

Mr. Line said that people without tickets would be welcome to fill open spaces between bleachers but that it would be up to the Secret Service to allow spectators to pass through checkpoints.

Full story with photograph

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Protesters Get Prime Spot for Inauguration

Associated Press Writer

Wed Jan 12, 8:17 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The National Park Service has agreed to give thousands of anti-war demonstrators a prime spot along President Bush (news - web sites)'s inaugural parade route that will allow them to protest during the procession.

The anti-war group A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition is planning to erect its own bleachers in the space, an open plaza on Pennsylvania Ave., just a few blocks from the Capitol building, said Brian Becker, national coordinator for the group. The bleachers could seat up to 1,000 people and the park service estimates up to 10,000 could fill the space standing shoulder to shoulder.

"I don't think it's ever happened in history that the anti-war movement has ever been able to have this kind of setup," Becker said.

Park service spokesman Bill Line said the agency has offered the space in John Marshall Plaza to the group but is still waiting for them to submit written confirmation. Becker said A.N.S.W.E.R. plans to submit the paperwork as soon as they can work out details about where to set up the bleachers.

The presidential motorcade carrying Bush will pass directly in front of the protesters' bleachers, which will be across the street from other bleachers set up by the official inaugural committee. The plaza, between the federal courthouse and the Canadian embassy, runs about 240 feet along the historic street that stretches from the Capitol to the White House.

The parade gets under way at 2 p.m. EST on Jan. 20 after Bush's swearing-in at the Capitol and a celebratory luncheon.

Becker said he considers the agreement a "partial victory" but still inadequate because the general public, including many who are opposed to the war in Iraq (news - web sites), will not be able to move into other areas along the parade route as they have in the past.

The park service has also issued A.N.S.W.E.R. permits for protesters to stand in nine other locations along Pennsylvania Ave., but Becker said most are "tiny spaces" behind bleachers or in fenced-in areas more than 100 feet from the parade route.

"Those are meaningless areas, we can't use them," Becker said.

The inaugural committee is staying out of the fray, committee spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said. "The inauguration is a celebration of our country's greatest ideals, including freedom of speech," Schmitt said.

The Secret Service (news - web sites) is allowing protesters to carry signs, but they are prohibiting them from being affixed to poles or sticks for security reasons, Becker said.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition plans to host military families with members in Iraq or whose children have been killed there, as well as veterans and anti-war activists from around the country.

Meanwhile, more than a dozen other groups opposing Bush held a news conference Wednesday to highlight the many marches, rallies and acts of civil disobedience set to take place on inauguration day.

A group called "Turn Your Back on Bush" is asking thousands of activists to line the parade route and turn their backs on the president as his motorcade passes. In a separate march, members of the D.C. Anti-War Network will carry 1,000 coffins draped in black to call attention to soldiers dying in Iraq, then stage a "die-in" at Lafayette Park near the White House, spokesman Jim Macdonald said.

Full story

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Inaugural Protesters Say They're Being Shut Out

Morning Edition
January 13, 2005

President Bush's second inauguration is slated to cost more than $40 million and will shut down much of downtown D.C. Many will come to celebrate but others plan to protest. Some dissenters are worried that their voices will be muted by a security infrastructure sympathetic to the administration. NPR's Larry Abramson reports.

Listen to the story

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Protesters Plan to Mark Bush Inauguration

By Andy Sullivan

Wed Jan 12, 4:06 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Protesters will march through Washington, stage a "die in" across from the White House and turn their backs on President Bush (news - web sites)'s limousine during his inaugural celebration next week, organizers said on Wednesday.

As U.S. authorities prepared unprecedented security for the Jan. 20 event, organizers said thousands of protesters will stage a noisy counterpoint to the lavish $40 million celebration.

One group of anti-war activists said it would carry 1,000 coffins to the White House and stage a "die in" to protest the lives lost in Iraq (news - web sites).

Another group said it had obtained a permit to protest along a 200-foot (60-meter) section of the parade route but planned to sue for more access to the large sections of Pennsylvania Avenue set aside for Bush supporters.

"The Bush administration, in conjunction with the National Park Service, is trying to stage-manage democracy," said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a lawyer for the anti-war group International ANSWER.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Secret Service, which is overseeing security for the event, declined immediate comment.

U.S. authorities plan to involve thousands of police, troops and bomb-sniffing dogs in the first inaugural event since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Spectators will pass through metal detectors before attending any inaugural events or watching the parade from the street.

Organizers said the protests were to express opposition to a range of Bush policies, from the war in Iraq to economic programs.

"We're facing a right-wing future that has no sympathy for the concerns of black people and the poor in this country," said Shazza Nzingha, founder of the National Alliance of Black Panthers.

One organization called Turn Your Back on Bush wants people to stake out spots along the parade route and turn their backs on Bush's limousine when it rolls by.

"There are a lot of people who feel Bush has turned his back on them," said field director Sarah Kauffman, who said she is expecting busloads of participants from across the country.

In a separate event, black-clad anarchists will wave puppets and beat drums to protest capitalism and organized government, said Lila Kaye of Anarchist Resistance.

Bush's inauguration plans have also drawn protest from the District of Columbia government, which says its security costs for the event should not come out of its Homeland Security budget.

"We the people of Washington, D.C., rejected Bush by over 90 percent (in the last election)," said Washington resident Nancy Shia. "Maybe this is our punishment."

Full story

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
[email protected]
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-533-0417
Los Angeles: 323-464-1636
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
For media inquiries, call 202-544-3389.

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