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Kate Snow: Security tighter than ever for Bush inauguration
Kate Snow is a general assignment reporter for CNN.
CNN Moderator: The inauguration plans are well underway. What kinds of protests are the planners bracing for?
Kate Snow: There is a wide variety of groups planning to come and protest Bush's inauguration. Security this year is tighter than it has ever been for a presidential inauguration. The Secret Service and Washington D.C. Police will be setting up security check points for everyone who wants to come watch the inaugural parade whether they are protesting or not. That is also a first.
Part of the reason for that is there was a change in the law. By presidential directive, any event that's designated a "national security special event" becomes a responsibility of the Secret Service. So for the first time, the U.S. Secret Service is the lead agency in charge of security for the inauguration. They'll be assisted by the Washington D.C. police, U.S. Park police and a number of other agencies being brought in from the surrounding areas.
CNN Moderator: What groups are threatening to protest?
Kate Snow: There are at least ten large protests planned. They range from anti-death penalty groups to civil rights groups to anti-globalization groups, and many who are concerned about what happened with the election in Florida.
Question from chat room: Is the level of protest anticipated greater than previous inaugural parades?
Kate Snow: Absolutely. It's expected there will be more protestors than at least the last several inaugurations and possibly more protestors than ever since 1973. In 1973, at Nixon's second inauguration, there were large protests against the Viet Nam War. Crowd estimates ranged from 25,000 to 100,000 protestors that year.
Question from chat room: Do the protesters plan to do anything?
Kate Snow: All of the groups that CNN has been in contact with are emphatic that they plan peaceful protests. Some of the groups involved are the same groups that participated in protests against the World Bank and IMF meeting in Washington last spring and against the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. At those protests demonstrators planned what is called "Direct Action"--confrontations with authorities. For the inauguration this Saturday, there is no "Direct Action" planned. Protestors say they don't want to be arrested, and they don't want to interfere with the parade. They just want to make a point.
Question from chat room: Why is this inauguration going to have lots of protests?
Kate Snow: It's partly because the U.S. election was so tumultuous. Many of the protests were organized in reaction to the vote count in Florida. But some of these protestors say they would have come to Washington in any case. Many are coming for the same reasons that they protested in Washington D.C. last spring and in Seattle in 1999. They are part of what they call an 'anti-corporate-globalization-movement.'
CNN Moderator: Thank you for joining us today, Kate Snow.
Kate Snow joined the chat room via telephone from Washington, D.C. CNN provided a typist. The above is an edited transcript of the interview on Thursday, January 18, 2001.
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