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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 2 June, 2020
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Anger amid the sadness as America marks 9/11

Rival protests stay peaceful (just about) but sour the air as New Yorkers observe the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Linda Jacknow (70) of Long Island, an opponent of the proposed mosque, argues against Aviva Stampfer (21) and Blake Luley (23) in New York yesterday.
Linda Jacknow (70) of Long Island, an opponent of the proposed mosque, argues against Aviva Stampfer (21) and Blake Luley (23) in New York yesterday.
Image: David Goldman/AP

THOUSANDS OF PROTESTORS taking part in rival demonstrations over the proposed construction of an Islamic cultural centre two blocks from Ground Zero managed to keep the peace in New York – just about – as the country stopped to mark the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Almost 3,000 showed up at Park Place, the proposed site of the centre which would include a controversial mosque, and at Ground Zero to picket in support of the proposed development, while 2,500 demonstrated against the plan.

Police had their work cut out to stop the clashing protests from becoming violent, with some campaigners threatening to come to blows just a few hundred yards away from where families of those killed in the World Trade Centre were mourning their deceased loved ones.

One retired fireman who had protested against the plans told the New York Post that he didn’t mind the construction of the mosque, “but I don’t want to hear their Islamic prayers wafting over the [Ground Zero] grave site… I saw the carnage of 9/11.”

The Post says demonstrators carried signs reading “Tea Party bigots funded by corporate $” and “Our grief is no excuse for bigotry and racism” while outside Park51 – currently a disused coat factory – one woman wearing a scarf around her head like a hijab had it torn off her head.

“There was a moment when I got scared for my life,” she said afterward.

At the Pentagon, meanwhile, President Obama said American was not, “and never will be, at war with Islam” and reminded the public of the desire of terrorists to divide the country – something he said the public should try to resist.

Terry Jones, the pastor behind the cancelled plans to burn copies of the Quran, told NBC he felt “God is telling us to stop” his plans, while in Alaska, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin gave a rally.

In Afghanistan, five people were wounded when protesters demonstrating against the planned burning tried to storm a local politician’s house.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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