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Reply to "President, greeted by protestors, lays wreath at King tomb"

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Throngs boo Bush at grave of MLK
Associated Press
ATLANTA -- Kathy Nicholas had planned to pay quiet tribute Thursday at the tomb of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

So did President Bush. The scene was anything but quiet.

Nicholas was among about 800 people who booed, chanted and beat drums near the typically placid grave site, angry that Bush was there on what would have been the slain civil rights leader's 75th birthday.

The protesters pushed past Secret Service barricades. They pounded on the sides of five city buses parked in front of King's tomb to block them from the president's motorcade.

Two people were arrested for stepping into the street and refusing to move.

As Bush arrived, the crowd booed and chanted "Bush go home!" He placed a wreath on King's grave before heading to a $2,000-a-plate fund-raiser in Atlanta.

Bush's visit to observe King's birthday upset some civil rights activists who said the president's policies on Iraq, affirmative action and funding for social services conflict with King's legacy. They also said the scheduling conflicted with their own plans to honor King.

Officials at the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the organization founded by King's widow, said they extended no invitation to Bush but accepted his offer. "Out of respect for that office and out of respect for Dr. King, he's coming," said Lynn Cothren, Coretta Scott King's assistant.