Local News

Safety Issues Over Demonstration Cause Closure Of State Buildings

Posted June 11, 2004 6:11 a.m. EDT

— Saturday is typically a busy day for downtown tourist draws, but not this weekend. The state Department of Cultural Resources will close several of its buildings because of the "Really, Really Free Market" event planned for the nearby Children's Garden.

The state Capitol, the Museum of History, the state Archives, and the Capital Area Visitors' Center will be some of the buildings closed due to the demonstration.

"In the post-9/11 era, we need to be careful and cautious," said Jeffrey Crow, of the state Department of Cultural Resources.

Crow said he was concerned about the impact on downtown traffic and public safety. He claims a

protest in Research Triangle Park

Thursday involving smoke bombs did not affect the decision.

"I was really upset that it was being portrayed as something violent," peace activist Heather Griswold said.

Griswold said she plans to attend the event to pass out antiwar literature, not start trouble.

"This event and the way it's being billed as a picnic with food and face-painting and balloon animals, I'm just flabbergasted," she said.

A rally by the same name in Miami last year resulted in confrontations with police and dozens of arrests. Last week, another rally in San Francisco went off peacefully. Organizers say there will be no speakers or marches, but open discussion.

"I have no idea what the folks in the rally will do. We hope it will be peaceful," Crow said.

The Museum of Natural Science will open as usual because it is run by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Officials with that department said they do not anticipate any trouble in the area.

One challenge for organizers will be limited public bathrooms because of the closings.