Published January 20, 2005
WASHINGTON – Anti-Bush demonstrators waving signs that said "Worst President Ever" and "the American Nightmare" jeered the president's motorcade during the inaugural parade Thursday.
The procession of cars sped up as President Bush (search) neared the designated location for protesters on Pennsylvania Avenue (search). Two rows of police lined the street in front of the main protest site. Officers stationed atop buildings along the route kept close watch on the crowd.
Boos rained down from the crowd and some demonstrators shouted, "No justice, no peace." In some places in the protest area, the crowd was about six rows deep.
Three blocks from the White House, protesters tried to rush a security gate and a flag was burned. Police briefly locked down the area, trapping some 400 to 500 spectators.
Annie Katz, 52, of New York, was at the rear of a group of protesters, but she said the experience was worth it despite the bad view. Katz said she was upset by the 2000 election, but "I'm angrier this time, since I'm angry about the war."
U.S. soldiers in dress uniforms and blue coats were greeted with chants of "no more wars."
Some rallying against the war carried coffin-like cardboard boxes to signify the deaths of U.S. troops in Iraq. Some of their chants could be heard as Bush neared the end of his inaugural address. The president continued speaking without interruption and there was no sign that he heard them.
On Capitol Hill, some protesters were briefly detained by police and released after Bush finished speaking, said Andrea Buffa, spokeswoman for CodePink: Women for Peace (search), one of the protest groups.
Michael Lauer, a Capitol Police spokesman, said police made five arrests during Bush's address.
District of Columbia police said they had to use pepper spray to break up a "push and shoving match" between officers and protesters near the start of the parade. A police spokesman said at least one officer was slightly injured.
Police and witnesses said a security checkpoint near the White House was briefly shut down after being blocked by protesters.
Witnesses said the protesters started pulling down flags and inaugural banners from lampposts, and said police used pepper spray on some protesters.
Julie Katz, 39, of Farbury, Neb., watched from a sidewalk as a ring of police in riot gear kept protesters a few dozen yards from the checkpoint.
"This is what makes America great. It's a little disrespectful, but it's their right to protest," said Katz, who volunteered for Bush's 2004 campaign.
First Lt. Bill Steinbach of the Virginia Army National Guard, which was assigned to help guard one of the checkpoints, said: "It's been pretty good overall, generally peaceful. Everyone has been able to express their First Amendment rights."
While President Bush was watching the parade from his reviewing stand in front of the White House, a group of anti-war protesters a block away unfurled a banner reading, "George Bush: Your wars shame U.S." Eight protesters lay down in the street pretending to be dead, with flowers strewn over their bodies.
The demonstration attracted the attention of Bush supporters who were leaving the VIP viewing stands and the two groups engaged in a series of taunts, all under the watchful eye of six U.S. Park Police mounted on horses.
"Aren't you guys cold?" one of the Bush supporters asked the prone demonstrators.