NEWSWEEK
OCTOBER 8, 1984
PERISCOPE

Seedy Plans for Lafayette Park

The National Park Service has decided to reseed the grass in Lafayette Park, the oasis of green that faces the White House. The result will be "beautification"- in more ways than one. A favorite spot for anti-administration demonstrations, the park normally sprouts a crop of signs protesting everything from Reagan's Central American policy to the MX missile. But the reseeding will effectively keep demonstrators out of the park until after November's election. Interior Department officials stoutly maintain that the timing of the project is purely coincidental, but many observers see a trend. Earlier this year, at the administration's request, the Supreme Court ruled that protesters could not sleep in Lafayette Park. Then, last month, the Park Service installed three-foot-high concrete barriers between the park and the White House. The barriers are a security precautionóbut they also make it difficult for demonstrators to be seen from the White House.