A smattering of protest groups occupied spots along the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route, but the demonstrations largely were directed at long-running national and international concerns rather than at policies specific to the Obama administration.
The U.S. Capitol Police arrested three people, including a demonstrator who refused to come down from a tree and was shouting and chanting, said spokesman Shennell Antrobus. D.C. police hadn't reported any arrests of protesters as of Monday afternoon.
A few dozen protesters with the ANSWER Coalition, a peace and social justice coalition, gathered at Freedom Plaza near the White House to honor the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and call for jobs, not war. Brian Becker, the coalition's national coordinator, said the group focused on messages that would resonate with a pro-Obama crowd. In addition to a poster focusing on King's legacy and jobs, protesters had signs saying "Indict Bush Now" and "Drone Strikes (equals) War Crimes."
John Diamond of Arlington, Va., handed out flyers inviting people to a "disinauguration ball" as people exited the inauguration ceremony. The flyers, which said "Not my president," invited people to an event later Monday in Virginia. Diamond, who didn't vote in this election, said he wants to encourage peace and opposes the drone attacks the president has authorized.
"We're just out here celebrating freedom and trying to get people to think about the fact that we don't need violence to control people or dictate the behaviors of other people and we should start looking for alternatives," Diamond said.
Another activist, Malachy Kilbride, said that while he and other protesters with the Arc of Justice Coalition were pleased Obama had broken the race barrier by winning the presidency, "that does not negate the fact that we are very upset with issues like the bailout of the banks, corporate influence in government, big money in politics."
Associated Press writers Matthew Barakat, David Dishneau and Jessica Gresko contributed to this report.
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