PICKETS AT WHITE HOUSE
by David Yike
Star News Staff Writer
An emergency government request to limit severely the number of demonstrators who are expected to flood the area around the White House this weekend was rejected yesterday by the U.S. COURT OF APPEALS.
Asst. U.S. Atty. Gilbert Zimmerman asked the court to allow the government again to limit pickets to 100 in front of the White House and 500 across the street in Lafayette Park for the weekend demonstrations for impeaching the President, the Mideast War and "peace."
The restriction was struck down in August by U.S. District Court Judge George L. Hart Jr., who ruled that any limit of fewer than 750 persons in front of the White House and 3,000 in Lafayette Park would be "more restrictive than is essential" for the protection of the President and the White House and the safety of citizens and demonstrators.
THE GOVERNMENT has appealed that ruling. But Zimmerman noted yesterday that resolution of the appeal could take several months. He asked the three judge appeals panel to sset aside Hart's ruling until the appeal is decided.
"Now, for the first time(since Hart's decision), we are faced with a situation that the Secret Service feels it cannot live with,"Zimmerman told the court.
He contended that "the danger is to the White House, not the President. He can be protected. This could provoke a Kent State-type incident...with only 230 feet and a flimsy fence" seperating demonstrators on the sidewalk from the White House.
HE SAID demonstrations were planned today by the White House Daily Meeting, a peace group which conducts a vigil in front of the executive mansion, by the Washington Area Impeachment Coalition, by the Committee to Impeach the President and an offshoot of the group, and a group supporting the president, as well as several individuals protesting such things as the Arab-Isreli conflict.
Zimmerman added that tomorrow the Divine Light Mission Inc., the followers of the Guru Maharaj- plan a rally at the Sylvan Theater and a candlelight procession around the White House calling for "peace". He noted that former anti-war activist Rennie Davis will be in the group.