People with divergent views plan demonstrations against peace conference

People of diverse views and faiths, conservative and liberal Jewish activists, Palestinians, Christians and others, planned demonstrations throughout the day during Mideast peace conference, hoping to influence public opinion.

The demonstrations began to build by late morning, starting with a rally by Jewish Americans opposed to the conference. Demonstrators chanted, "No peace with terrorists," outside the U.S. Naval Academy gates.

A woman dressed as a prison inmate and wearing a giant face mask of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was critical of the conference for not including representatives of the Islamic militant group Hamas.

"This is really symbolic, more than anything," Liz Houricane said of the summit.

The campus remained closed to general visitors for a second day. Three city streets outside the academy gates were closed, and restrictions also were imposed on waterways that nearly surround the school and the airspace above it.

The State Highway Administration warned drivers to avoid possible congestion on highways leading to the host city as state police were to escort diplomats' motorcades from Washington to Annapolis. But there were no unusual delays.

Edgar Moreno, assistant director of domestic operations for the State Department's Diplomatic Security office, said plans were in place to deal with the demonstrations. "If everything is done in a lawful manner, there shouldn't be any problem at all," he said.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley was hosting the Israeli delegation, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, for lunch at the governor's mansion. A light, kosher meal was planned.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova