Chanting "Soviets are liars, Soviets are murderers," more than 150 people joined a rally yesterday organized by a Korean-American organization and an anticommunist group a block from the Soviet Embassy to protest the shooting down of a South Korean passenger jet.
The late afternoon demonstration marked the second day of angry protests here against the destruction of the Boeing 747 near the Soviet island of Sakhalin on Wednesday, and the apparent deaths of the 269 people aboard.
D.C. police officers stopped the protesters at 16th and K streets NW, a block from the Soviet Embassy near 16th and L streets NW, in keeping with a city law that prohibits demonstrations within 500 feet of an embassy.
Most of the demonstrators were Korean-Americans organized by the Federation of Korean Associations, which held a spirited rally with banners and flags at Lafayette Square and marched repeatedly from the park to 16th and K streets.
Speakers demanded a Soviet apology for the missile attack on the airliner, a United Nations investigation, and financial compensation from the Soviet government for the victims' families. Many of the marchers were visibly angry, as they screamed, "Communist cowards, communist cowards," and shook their fists in the direction of the embassy. Others wept.
The Korean-American rally joined forces at 16th and K streets with a smaller group of protesters organized by the Freedom Federation, an anticommunist group.
"We're going to try to keep up public awareness of this barbarous attack," said Heba El-Shazli, an official of that organization, made up of people of 16 nationalities that have lived under communist rule, including people from Cuba and Afghanistan.
The demonstration also included people who were not drawn by either the Korean-American or Freedom Foundation rallies. Don Grimes, 24, from suburban Detroit, held an American flag and a sign saying, "USSR killed 5 from Michigan." Grimes said he and 14 friends had driven all night in a car caravan to come here to protest. "We won't forget," he yelled to passersby.
Police said someone called radio station WTOP about 2:30 p.m. yesterday and said there was a bomb at the building housing Aeroflot, the Soviet airline, next to the embassy. A search uncovered no bomb, police said.