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Demonstrators Mobilize Under a Slew of Causes

Fueling those demonstrations were what many believed was a stolen election in 2000. This time, protesters said their dissent has been inflamed by what they called an unjustified war in Iraq.

But the antiwar cause is one banner among many. Bush has been a popular target for left-leaning activists since he took office. Their anger has not subsided over the years, and the administration's policies at home and abroad have galvanized activists in antiwar, anti-globalization, pro-environment, pro-labor, abortion rights and AIDS movements.


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It was not until the early 20th century that the Senate enacted rules allowing members to end filibusters and unlimited debate. How many votes were required to invoke cloture when the Senate first adopted the rule in 1917?
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Some protesters said they are coming to Washington to oppose what they consider U.S. efforts to overthrow democratically elected leaders in Haiti, Venezuela and elsewhere. Some are coming because of the administration's support of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Others say their main reason for attending is opposition to the USA Patriot Act or alleged Election Day fraud.

David Lytel, founder of the Committee to ReDefeat the President, said the group is organizing a rally at the Jefferson Memorial and is planning other events focused on raising questions about voter irregularities and the 2004 election.

The D.C. Anti-War Network is sponsoring two actions -- a rally and march from Meridian Hill Park in Columbia Heights and a "die-in" to symbolize those who have died in Iraq or because of Bush policies. The details of the die-in are still being planned, but the street-theater action will take place near the parade route, organizers said.

"We're not trying to cause destruction or anything like that," said District resident Peter Perry, 35, an organizer. "We're actually trying to open up debate over foreign and domestic policies."

A group called Anarchist Resistance said it is planning a "festive and rowdy march." An organizer who identified himself as Rae Valentine, 24, described plans this way: "Our idea is to disrupt and put a black eye on Bush's coronation."

The group's Web site says it is organizing under five "points of unity," one of which supports a "confrontational attitude."

Other organizers are hoping a simple, silent gesture gets their message across. At least 10,000 protesters are expected to stand along the parade route and turn their backs as Bush goes by, said Jet Heiko, 31, national organizer for the Turn Your Back on Bush event. "It's something that's universally understood as being a symbolic statement of defiance," Heiko said.

He and a number of other demonstrators said they are worried that heightened security for the first inauguration since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks will stifle dissent.

Becker said the Partnership for Civil Justice and the National Lawyers Guild are preparing to take legal action on behalf of ANSWER this week against the Park Service, after the group received a permit that he said prevents protesters from gathering in large numbers.

"Our permit is for tiny, tiny areas, behind bleachers or off the inaugural route, and that is an illegal denial of the public's access to the inaugural parade route," he said.


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