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Protesters fear lack of access to inaugural parade

WASHINGTON -- The park service has given the Presidential Inaugural Committee clearance to erect bleachers along parts of Pennsylvania Avenue where an antiwar group had requested permits to stage a large-scale protest during President Bush's parade.

The ANSWER Coalition had applied for permits to assemble, and in some cases build bleachers, along parts of the historic street that stretches from the Capitol to the White House.

The National Park Service has not acted on the coalition's permit requests.

But angry officials from the coalition argued yesterday that permitting the inaugural committee to build bleachers in several open spaces, such as Freedom Plaza, across from the White House, and in front of the FBI headquarters and Justice Department, prohibits the coalition from gathering in such areas to stage their large demonstrations.

''The goal, from the beginning, was equal access to Pennsylvania Avenue," Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a representative of the Partnership for Civil Justice, which is working on behalf of ANSWER, said at a news conference. ''We can't have what the [inaugural committee] gets. They've issued a permit to another group for the same space we asked for."

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