LINE THE INAUGURAL ROUTE ON JANUARY 20
Be there by 9:00 am!
*Update on CounterInaugural Demonstration permits*
FOUR YEARS AGO AS George W. Bush rode in his limousine along the
Inaugural parade route, he was met by a sea of vocal protestors and
anti-Bush signs. Vividly captured in a dramatic scene from the movie
Fahrenheit 9/11, the anti-Bush demonstrators lining the inaugural
route on Pennsylvania Avenue became the dominant feature of the
inauguration, his first day in office.
On January 20, 2005, 21 months after the criminal invasion and
occupation of Iraq and 39 months after the adoption of the USA Patriot
Act, the Bush administration is planning to privatize Pennsylvania
Avenue so that Corporate America and the ultra-right can line the
route of march. To succeed they must push antiwar demonstrators
and all those defending civil rights and civil liberties off to the
margins and try to scare people into silence.
7,000 ENDORSERS: "WE'LL LINE THE PARADE ROUTE"
The January 20 call for a CounterInaugural antiwar demonstration was
issued by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition in June of 2004 and has now
received the support of more than 7,000 endorsers. People are planning
to come from all over the country to line the inaugural route. People
are coming by bus, car and train because they are determined to line
the inaugural route and let the world see that the people of the
United States are taking a stand against the criminal war in Iraq and
in defense of people's rights at home. The Bush White House, which has
been greeted by massive condemnation and protests in every country he
visits, is now worried about avoiding a huge political embarrassment
in Washington, DC. They are fighting for legitimacy and working to
divert or thwart the demonstrations.
Working through the Bush-Cheney Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC)
and the U.S. government, the White House is doing everything in its
power to prevent a repeat of the 2001 CounterInaugural demonstration
when tens of thousands of anti-Bush demonstrators lined Pennsylvania
Ave. between 3rd St. and 15th St. and became the major world news
DON'T BE DIVERTED
Bush and his billionaire supporters want to enjoy a sanitized
coronation and remove all evidence to the world of just how much the
people of the United States stand against this administration and
their criminal conduct. They want the protestors who come to
Washington to go anywhere but the parade route. Just like during the
RNC in New York, the Bush administration wants protest to be relegated
to other parts of the city.
The Bush administration and the government are trying to prevent
people from effectively accessing the inaugural route. Some groups
have announced plans that also divert protestors from lining the front
of the inaugural route. Agreeing to permits from the government for
demonstrations at far off places in Washington DC effectively removes
anyone who attends these actions from being able to line the inaugural
route. The Bush administration and the government know full well, from
the experience of the January 20, 2001, CounterInaugural
demonstration, that the only way anti-Bush protesters were able to
secure a spot at the front of the inaugural route, and often even get
in at all, was by arriving before 9 o'clock in the morning. In order
to divert anti-Bush demonstrators four years ago, the government,
using "national security" as a pretext (remember this was before
September 11), established check points for the first time in the
history of inaugural parades. Some groups have advocated that people
who do go the parade route should conform to the administration's
efforts to limit dissent by volunteering to be silent and carrying no
signs. Those who were in DC four years ago well remember that the
government and the Bush/Cheney PIC tried then to take our signs or
scare people from bringing them, but we wouldn't let them - the route
was packed with visible and undeniable opposition messages to the
incoming administration. They tried to silence our voices, but we
wouldn't let them - Pennsylvania Avenue echoed with the sound of
thousands of people chanting against Bush.
FREE SPEECH AND THE PERMIT BATTLE
It was only because of the determined effort of anti-Bush
demonstrators, along with the legal efforts to secure protestors'
rights initiated by the Partnership for Civil Justice and the National
Lawyers Guild, that anti-Bush demonstrators overcame these obstacles
and became a dominating political force at the inauguration.
On Monday, protest organizers from A.N.S.W.E.R. and their lawyers met
with the National Park Service, which has been delaying meeting to
discuss the permit requests. Despite the fact that A.N.S.W.E.R.
applied nearly a year ago for areas along the inaugural route of
Pennsylvania Avenue, law enforcement has stated that it will not yet
tell the protest organizers whether and where they will grant
inaugural route permits. Instead, they are asserting that they are
waiting for the Bush-Cheney Presidential Inaugural Committee to decide
how much space along the route it wants to consume and privatize.
Those who reflect an antiwar view or a view in opposition to the Bush
administration's domestic policies, according to the government, will
come last, if at all. Law enforcement authorities refused to
confirm that there would be equal access for those who are not paying
Bush and Cheney for the privilege of standing along Pennsylvania
Avenue and they also would not tell the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition what
areas would be available to construct antiwar bleachers similar to
those it permits the Bush/Cheney PIC to construct for each
CORPORATE AMERICA DOES NOT OWN PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE
In fact, the National Park Service has for this inauguration, just as
it did for the last inauguration, itself taken out a permit in advance
to sublet to the PIC and thereby deprive any opposition group equal
access to the inaugural parade. The PIC is a private
corporate-funded organization that is expected to raise $40 million
from solicitations to the president's biggest campaign contributors -
that is, from the biggest banks, corporations, oil and energy
companies, and military contractors. The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
asserts that the National Park Service has no right to privatize
Pennsylvania Avenue on behalf of the Republican Party, the Bush
administration, Corporate America and the Christian Right.
The PIC sent letters to potential donors in early December asking them
to purchase a $250,000 "Underwriter Package" that will give them the
tickets to exclusive inaugural balls and tickets to possess spots
along the inaugural parade route on January 20. A $100,000 "Sponsor
Package" offers most of the same benefits but omits a special lunch
with President Bush.
Here is the civil rights, civil liberties issue at hand: Pennsylvania
Avenue is described as "America's Main Street" on the White House
website, on the website of the National Park Service and in a U.S.
Senate Resolution. On January 20 every four years, the president-elect
of the United States travels by limousine down "America's Main Street"
before and after taking the Oath of Office on the steps of the
Capitol. Bush wants to allow his supporters and his corporate
constituents to take ownership over Pennsylvania Avenue to conduct a
stage-managed sanitized spectacle bestowing legitimacy on his lawless
enterprise. To accomplish this he must find a way to banish dissent
from the scene of the planned spectacle.
BE THERE BY 9:00 AM!
We will not let this stand. The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition calls on all
those who want to hold a visible demonstration to come to the site of
the inauguration, where the whole world will indeed be watching. Be
there by 9:00 a.m. Make a pledge to be at the site of the
inauguration. Don't let Corporate America, the Bush administration and
the U.S. government make you invisible. We are launching a political
struggle, and a legal effort, to secure the rights of the people to be
visible on Pennsylvania Avenue with signs and slogans denouncing the
Bush administration for its criminal war on Iraq and its anti-people
policies at home. At the same time as we are continuing to secure
permits along the parade route we want to make it clear to everyone
you do not need a permit to come to Pennsylvania Avenue and to make
your views known. Pennsylvania Avenue does not belong to Corporate
America and the ultra-right. Everyone organizing buses, car caravans
or individual transportation should be at Pennsylvania Ave. by 9:00 am
on January 20.
WE WILL DEMAND:
1) US Out of Iraq Now, End the Occupation - Bring the Troops Home Now
2) End Colonial Domination from Palestine to Haiti, and Everywhere
3) Health Care, Education, Housing, and a Job at a Living Wage Must be
HELP ORGANIZE TRANSPORTATION
The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition will send out an email update in the next
few days regarding logistics, bus drop off and other transportation
information. If you are organizing transportation from your city, fill
out the Transportation Form to list your information on the
A.N.S.W.E.R. website and help spread the word:
Pledge now to support the January 20 demonstration. To endorse, click
Funds are urgently needed to make January 20 the visible and vocal
display of opposition that Bush is trying desperately to thwart. You
can make an urgently needed contribution for the January 20
mobilization through a secure server, where you can also find information
on how to contribute by check, by clicking here:
* * * * *
MEDIA COVERAGE OF FREE SPEECH FIGHT AT COUNTERINAUGURAL
Excerpt from the New York Times:
First Inauguration Since 9/11 Spurs Tightest Security
By Michael Janofsky
December 13, 2004
Brian Becker, national coordinator for the Answer Coalition, an
antiwar and antiracism group, said he expected thousands of protesters
to line the parade route "in a legal, spirited, peaceful
demonstration," carrying signs calling for the withdrawal of United
States troops from Iraq and for Mr. Bush's impeachment.
Excerpt from Fox News:
Protesters Don't Feel the Love in D.C.
By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos
November 21, 2004
While the Department of Homeland Security recently designated the Jan.
20 inauguration a National Special Security Event, thus putting into
place multi-agency security for the presidential swearing-in ceremony,
parade and inaugural balls, protest organizers like Brian Becker of
ANSWER (Act Now To Stop War And Racism) say the move is less a
response to post-Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist threats, and more a way to
"It's not the first time that the Bush administration has used
national security and the war on terrorism as a pretext to determine
who can exercise free speech and whose free speech rights should be
put on the back burner," Becker told FOXNews.com.
"The idea that the Army must be mobilized and the most extreme
national security precautions announced three months ahead of time
-- that's not designed to intimidate 'terrorists', it's designed to
* * * * *
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
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