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Groups Protest White House's War on Terror Detainments

March: Concerns were voiced at a rally at the Justice Department on handling of suspects.

September 14, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of labor and civil rights activists marched to the Justice Department on Friday to protest the Bush administration's policy of investigating and detaining people, sometimes without charges, as part of its war on terrorism.

Some marchers challenged President Bush's assertion that the war effort is aimed at terrorists, not Muslims. One protester carried a sign that accused Bush of "targeting one billion Muslims."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, leaning on crutches after foot surgery, said there could be election day consequences for the White House policy.

"We march in September, we register in October and we remember in November," he told the crowd of several hundred.

Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft has said that detaining suspects without naming them publicly--even without formally charging them--is key to preventing more terrorist attacks like on Sept. 11.

James J. Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, said the policy has led to "massive racial profiling" and the disappearance of people of Middle Eastern descent.

"We do not know their names," he said of some detainees. "We do not know where they are."

Civil libertarians said the administration's policy tramples constitutional protections.

"... No matter what he [John Ashcroft] says, we're the true patriots," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women.

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