[News] Police Use Tear Gas at Bush Inauguration

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Fri Jan 21 11:56:07 EST 2005

Police Use Tear Gas at Bush Inauguration, Mock Coffins and Anti-War Chants 
as Bush Sworn In
Police Use Tear Gas at Bush Inauguration

Thu Jan 20, 2005 04:13 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Police sprayed tear gas to disperse demonstrators 
who hurled debris and tried to break through a security fence keeping 
protesters away from President Bush's inaugural parade on Thursday. Several 
dozen protesters thronged toward the security fence, lobbing bottles, trash 
and snowballs at police, witnesses said. More than 100 police officers were 
at the scene where hundreds of protesters had gathered.

A small group of anti-Bush demonstrators overturned several of the metal 
security barricades, and a handful of protesters broke through.

Witnesses said they saw police use tear gas against some of the protesters.

Also along the route toward the White House, protesters set a small fire 
close to the barricades.

The motorcade sped up as it passed the commotion.

Mock Coffins and Anti-War Chants as Bush Sworn In

Thu Jan 20, 2005 03:07 PM ET

By Andy Sullivan WASHINGTON (Reuters) -

Flag-draped coffins and anti-war chants competed with pomp and circumstance 
on Thursday at the inauguration of President Bush along the snow-dusted, 
barricaded streets of central Washington.

As the president was sworn in for a second term amid the tightest security 
in inaugural history, protesters chanted "Hell no, we won't go! We won't go 
for Texaco" and other anti-war slogans. They carried hundreds of mock 
coffins along 16th Street, a downtown thoroughfare leading to the White 
House, to remind Americans of the mounting casualties in Iraq.

While some protesters played drums, others held signs such as "Iraq is 
Arabic for Vietnam," "Down with King George," and "Your taxes at work 

Jamie Dennis, a 22-year-old contractor from Silver Spring, Maryland, said 
it was important for people to come out and protest Bush's policies. "This 
is showing that he doesn't have as much political capital as he claims," he 

Demonstrations were mostly peaceful during the first inauguration since the 
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Police sealed off 100 blocks around the White 
House and parade route, barring all traffic except official security and 
police cars.

In one case, police scuffled with about 30 protesters about two streets 
away from the inaugural parade route, using pepper spray and batons to 
disperse the group. Some black-clad protesters also traded insults with 
Bush supporters, many in fur coats. Others threw snowballs at police.

"Right wing scum, your time has come," read a banner at a march of about 
200 protesters heading toward Pennsylvania Avenue, where the inaugural 
parade was scheduled in the afternoon.


Just outside the White House grounds, 17 protesters staged a "die-in." 
After shouting a chant of "Stop the killing, stop the war," they dropped to 
the pavement one by one as one of them began reading a list of those killed 
in Iraq.

Some wore fake blood-stained bandages, and stage blood dribbled from some 
mouths. One spectator apparently found the act so credible that he began 
administering CPR.

Others were less sympathetic.

"I hope you don't get up. I hope you freeze your ass off," said another, 
who was among a group heading toward the grandstands nearest the White 
House. Throughout the city, thousands of police and military troops were on 
patrol with bomb-sniffing dogs, and spectators had to pass through metal 
detectors before attending any inaugural events or before being allowed to 
watch the parade from the street.

The demonstrations were due to continue throughout the day. Organizers said 
they expected several thousand protesters to brave the winter chill to vent 
opposition to the president and his policies at home and abroad.

Some protesters along the route of the inaugural parade say they planned to 
turn their backs at Bush's motorcade.

Demonstration organizers had complained they were not being given adequate 
access to protest, while Bush supporters were granted prime locations along 
the parade route.

At the moment of oath-taking, several hundred demonstrators crossed 16th 
Street a block away from the White House. "Abort Bush," read some signs, 
referring to the abortion debate that is one of the country's more divisive 

Becky Jones, a 20-year-old art student from Washington, she was upset the 
president had led the nation to war in Iraq based on false information 
about weapons of mass destruction.

"He still won, and I don't know why," she said.

(additional reporting by Deborah Zabarenko)

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