Capital prepares for 30th anniversary march



WASHINGTON (AP)—Police and other officials of the nation’s capital are preparing for the tens of thousands of people expected to attend weekend events marking the 30th anniversary of the 1963 civil rights march.

But the preparations appear almost routine in a city that is the scene of dozens of protests each year.

‘‘I think it’s going to be a big day, but we’re going to take care of it,’‘ said Maj. Robert Hines of the U.S. Park Police, the law enforcement agency that will have primary responsibly for crowd and traffic control.

‘‘Anytime you get 50,000, 60,000 or 70,000 people all together it’s an interruption,’‘ he said. ‘‘But we’ll have extra people working on to take care of it.’‘

Demonstrators are scheduled to gather near the Washington Monument on Saturday morning for two-mile march to the Lincoln Memorial, the place where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous ‘‘I Have a Dream’‘ speech during the original March on Washington 30 years ago.

From 200,000 to 250,000 people attended that watershed event, but far fewer are expected Saturday. Organizers originally predicted 250,000, but Walter Fauntroy, the march’s national director, later scaled back that estimate, saying he expected ‘‘tens of thousands of people.’‘

In keeping with longstanding policies for large demonstrations, police officials would not say how many extra patrolman will be on duty.

But ‘‘this will be a peaceful march,’‘ said Sgt. Joe Gentile, a spokesman for District of Columbia police. ‘‘It also recognizes Martin Luther King, a man of peace.’‘

Preparations are going smoothly so far, said Earl Shinhoster, a march organizer and southeast regional director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

‘‘The city has extended itself fully,’‘ Shinhoster said.

Hundreds of buses will be driving into Washington from cities across the country, and officials have arranged for parking at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and the Pentagon, he said. All permits are in place.

Some groups across the country have said they are having a hard time coming up with enough money to pay their way to the march, Shinhoster said.

‘‘There’s no shortage in the number of people who want to come up, but fund raising has always been a problem for events like this,’‘ said Shinhoster, who also helped to organize marches commemorating the 20th and 25th anniversaries of the 1963 March on Washington and a 1989 march sponsored by the NAACP.

Hotels across the city are seeing only a moderate increase in business, but that may change as more people arrive, hotel officials said.

Many marchers have already reserved rooms at Washington-area hotels, but a great many probably will not stay overnight, Shinhoster said.

‘‘People are not coming here for a vacation,’‘ Shinhoster said.