Tight Security, Protests Expected at Inauguration


Members of the Navy Honor Guard participate in a presidential escort practice for Obama's second inauguration at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va.

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"What a lot of us are concerned about is that the only people who are opposing Obama are on the right," Kilbride said. "The point is that Obama is being criticized from the progressive liberal left side also."

Kilbride said the demonstration could draw a few thousand people, but the group didn't plan on causing trouble.

The ANSWER Coalition, a peace and social justice organization, is staging a separate demonstration at Freedom Plaza, along the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route.

"We'll be highlighting the fact that such a vast (percentage) of the national treasury goes to wars and militarism rather than to meet human needs, so we're going to be demanding jobs and justice — not war and occupation," said Brian Becker, the group's national coordinator.

District of Columbia officials, including Mayor Vincent Gray, plan to use their viewing stand along the parade route to draw attention to the local government's lack of budget autonomy and congressional representation. Mayoral spokesman Pedro Ribeiro wouldn't reveal exactly how the officials plan to get their message across.

"What better venue to demonstrate it? This is exactly the type of place that it should be demonstrated in — this grand pageant of democracy," Ribeiro said.

An Ohio-based anti-abortion group, Created Equal, is staging a demonstration with several dozen protesters, also on the parade route, executive director Mark Harrington said.

"He'll swear to protect the rights of future pre-born children while at the time same defending the injustice of abortion," Harrington said of Obama.

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Though the anticipated crowd will be smaller than 2009, Gainer said security plans are equally vigilant this year. There's never been an assassination attempt at any inauguration, and there's no specific or even generalized threat that officials are aware of this year, he said.

"The biggest security concern is there's some state-sponsored threat or individual threat, but we're kind of concerned about that every day over here," Gainer said. "I don't want to say the inauguration is a routine security event for us. But in our business, it's pretty close to business as usual."

Gainer acknowledged, however, "What we have learned over these years is this is an attractive nuisance" for people looking to cause problems.

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