NEW YORK – City officials on Wednesday granted 10 permits for demonstrations coinciding with the Republican National Convention (search), while negotiations over a massive anti-war rally continue.
The Central Labor Council (search), a coalition of labor unions, won approval for a demonstration outside Madison Square Garden, site of the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 convention.
Late Wednesday, police announced additional permits to groups including the Christian Defense Coalition, Planned Parenthood, the Middle East Peace Coalition and People for the American Way. Demonstrations, prayer vigils and rallies by these organizations would be held from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1.
But United for Peace and Justice and city officials are to meet again Friday to discuss the anti-war group's application for a rally and march for 250,000 people on convention eve, said Bill Dobbs, a spokesman for the group.
The location for the rally has become a sticking point. United for Peace and Justice wants to use Central Park, but city officials rejected that and offered the West Side Highway instead. The group says the highway can be accessed only from one direction and would be sweltering in the August heat.
The labor council won permission to rally Sept. 1 in a pre-designated demonstration area that runs south on Eighth Avenue starting at the arena's southwest corner. The group expects to draw tens of thousands of protesters who think "George Bush's policies are bad for working people," chairman Brian McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said he was satisfied with the permit process and sensitive to police concerns about security.
City officials have said they are trying to balance protesters' demands for access with concerns about terrorism, traffic and unauthorized protests.
Other groups that applied for permits include the anti-war groups Not In Our Name and Code Pink-Women for Peace, the Green Party and the National Council of Arab Americans.
The Great Lawn in Central Park, Times Square, Union Square, the Brooklyn Bridge and Riverside Park are among the locations requested for demonstrations that could start as early as Aug. 22.