In marches, rallies and other demonstrations stretching over the next four days, those who are thrilled to see Ronald Reagan back for a second term and those who are considerably less ecstatic about his reelection will be making their views known, some even rubbing shoulders and signs along the inaugural parade route Monday.
Everyone from the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his "Rainbow Coalition" to college Republicans have booked one park or another for inauguration-related activities covering a range of concerns. Some groups will be protesting Reagan administration policies; others will be protesting the protesters, and countering their counterinaugural efforts with pro-Reagan, pro-America rallies.
Though the size and type of anti-Reagan protests aren't expected to rival the very first counterinaugural demonstration of 1969 -- when thousands of antiwar protesters erected a circus tent on the Mall, "in-hog-urated" a pig as president and jeered Richard Nixon's motorcade -- Reagan's detractors will be very much in evidence.
Jackson, for instance, will lead a march and prayer vigil Saturday to protest severe poverty and unemployment in the United States. The group will assemble in Farragut Square, 17th and I streets NW, at 11 a.m. for a noon march past the White House to the Washington Monument grounds. There, a rally will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., featuring Jackson, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, NOW President Judy Goldsmith and local public officials and union leaders as guest speakers.
"The purpose is to call attention to unemployment and poverty, two issues that have been swept under the rug and considerably aggravated by the Reagan administration," said Dr. Lamond Godwin, acting national director of the National Rainbow Coalition.
On Monday, the day of Reagan's public swearing-in, demonstrators organized by the People's Anti-war Mobilization and the All-Peoples Congress plan to gather at noon on the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue at 14th Street NW. They plan to protest U.S. involvement in Central America, U.S. business interests and trade with South Africa and domestic budget proposals to cut pay for federal workers by 5 percent and force further government work-force layoffs.
"We want to be very orderly and legal, but also very visible and vocal," said Brian Becker, a 31-year-old national organizer for the People's Anti-war Mobilization. He called Reagan's domestic and foreign policies "fundamentally the same in that they're based on the philosophical orientation that the country should be run by and for the rich."
About 2,000 to 5,000 participants are expected to join the demonstration, according to Becker, a smaller number of which will rally earlier that morning at Constitution Avenue, between Second and Third streets, during Reagan's swearing-in ceremony and inaugural speech at the Capitol.
Becker said protest organizers weeks ago reserved Lafayette Park across from the White House -- nearly every group's first choice for a demonstration site -- but canceled out this week after deciding they needed a larger, more visible protest spot along the parade route.
Because reviewing stands and media trailers are taking up the bulk of the space, demonstrators in Lafayette Park are being restricted to its northeast quadrant, according to National Park Service spokeswoman Sandra Alley. The area holds about 300 people.
The last-minute cancellation left the National Park Service juggling requests for the space from groups, including the College Republican National Committee and the Young Republican National Federation, that were initially told the space was booked for Monday. But it made Republicans very happy.
"All we ever truely and desperately wanted was Lafayette Park," Bill Greener, director of communications for the Republican National Committee, said yesterday.
The RNC, after what Green described as "political confusion" over who was organizing what where, is handling demonstration plans for both groups. They are now expected to gather in Lafayette Park on Sunday, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., for a pro-America rally and to continue a similar inaugural celebration the next day during the parade.
Kyle McCreary, 20, national field director for the College Republicans, calling the rally "almost like a party on the corner," said student GOPers wanted to hold their own inaugural event to show they are still very supportive of the president.
"We're getting sick of leftist propaganda," said McCreary, complaining about all the "Protest Reagan's Inauguration" signs that are papering the downtown area. "This is supposed to be a celebration of America, not a time to try to get media attention for your cause."
Reagan critics, however, including the Progressive Club and the Americans for Democratic Action -- each holding "alternative" inaugural parties Monday night -- insist they will have their say, too.