WASHINGTON, D.C.-Nearly 10,000 police, National Guardsmen, and federal troops are massing today at strategic sites around Washington to prevent the Mayday Tribe's planned shutdown of government offices here.
Reports indicate that President Nixon made the decision to call in federal troops after consulting with Attorney General John Mitchell and Washington Police Chief Jerry V. Wilson Saturday night.
Despite yesterday's bust at West Potomac Park, Mayday demonstrators intend to carry out their plans to block traffic entering the city at key bridges and traffic circles.
After being routed from the park yesterday morning, demonstrators regrouped by regions last night at George Washington, Georgetown, American and Maryland Universities. A few scattered protestors met in local churches.
After regional delegations held tactical meetings last night, all groups indicated that they would not be intimidated by the attempt of Washington police and federal officials to clear them from the city. Most of the groups resolved to maintain strict nonviolence in today's actions.
However, the southern regional group, including about 400 demonstrators, indicated that their assault on Scott Circle, at the juncture of Massachusetts Ave. and 16th Street, might include trashing and "hit-and-run" street tactics.
In one of today's broadest-based actions, the People Coalition for Peace and Justice (PCPJ) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) are co-sponsoring a 6 a.m. march from the grounds of the Washington Monument across the 14th St. Bridge to the Pentagon. The march aims to block off all entryways to the Pentagon parking lot.
The leaders of the march expect to be arrested before reaching the Pentagon, possibly at the Monument itself. However, they hope that the presence of SCLC leaders Ralph D. Abernathy and Hosea Williams, and noted pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock will attract attention to antiwar demands. They also expect to tie up large numbers of police and block traffic as they are being arrested.
The Boston region is dividing into two groups who will approach the Lincoln Memorial from 23rd St. and Constitution Ave. respectively and try to get as close as possible to the Memorial and the adjacent Arlington Memorial Bridge, disrupting traffic along the way.
Students stayed last night at universities in Greater Washington despite a joint statement issued by the administrations of George Washington, Georgetown, and American Universities prohibiting the housing of protestors on the campus.
Students at these universities, however, have welcomed demonstrators onto their campuses.
David Ifshin, president of the National Student Association (NSA), said yesterday that "NSA is opening all of its facilities to demonstrators." Ifshin's statement also urged students to come to Washington and denounced the "gestapo-like tactics of the Nixon government."
At American University, the Boston delegation last night occupied the second and third floors of the student center. Some A.U. students welcomed demonstrators into their dorms for rest and showers, but several dorms barricaded entrances to prevent Mayday people from coming in.
Pentagon officials announced yesterday their plans to defend the city. According to a Pentagon statement, about 500 members of the 519th Military Police Battalion, seven Army Helicopters and troops from seven bases throughout the mid-South are on call to "assist local civilian law enforcement authorities."
Although the bust at West Potomac Park has caused considerable disorganization among the Mayday demonstrators, many organizers feel it may actually benefit today's action.
No protestors will now be trapped in the campgrounds, and police defense of targeted traffic centers will be complicated as demonstrators approach from many directions.