WASHINGTON – On the eve of the Glenn Beck-organized tea party rally, assertions by a conservative blogger that parts of the nation’s capital should be avoided as unsafe has created an uproar on the blogosphere, accusations of racism and a sharp response by angry city leaders.

Thousands of conservative tea party supporters were expected today at the demonstration, which Beck has called a “Restoring Honor” rally to show support of the country’s military at the site where Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech 47 years ago to the day.

The location and timing has prompted civil rights leaders to cry foul.

“They have a right to rally. But what they don’t have the right do is distort what Dr. King’s dream was about,” the Rev. Al Sharpton declared Friday. He called the tea party assembly an anti-government action and has organized a counter-rally also near the site of King’s historic speech.

With emotions already high, the work of a largely unknown tea party blogger, Bruce Majors, brought them to a fever pitch Friday.

The blog post, which first appeared Monday and has been widely viewed and distributed since then, warned conservative protesters visiting the nation’s capital to avoid certain subway lines, suggesting they are unsafe, that certain neighborhoods should be avoided, that the city is populated by the world’s refugees — that taxi drivers are often Arab or African — and that generally visitors should be wary.

City leaders didn’t appreciate the suggestions.

“Frankly, we need to put an end to that venom,” said Vincent Gray, a member of the District of Columbia Council and a candidate for mayor, at a news conference Friday. “This is a city of 600,000 people — people who enjoy living here, people who pay their taxes.” He urged tea party activists to ride the subway and visit the city’s neighborhoods.

“People from all over the world work, live, visit and explore this city safely every day,” added Elliott Ferguson, president of the tourism bureau Destination D.C.

Organizers of the Beck rally declined to comment on the blog post.

Majors said he offered his post as a “visitors guide” to people planning to attend the Beck rally. In an interview Friday, Majors said he was thinking of his mother and people like her who don’t live in cities when he wrote the post. He never expected it to draw much attention.

The posting offered hints on cheap eats, free wireless Internet spots — and the home addresses of Democratic political leaders, with the note “Feel free to protest!” And he urged visitors to avoid certain subway lines and stay in more affluent parts of the city.

A real estate agent who has lived in Washington since 1980, Majors said his post was not intended as racist.

In fact, some of the neighborhoods that Majors suggested as dangerous — areas targeted by race riots more than 40 years ago — have undergone revitalization and today sport new stores, restaurants, a diversity of residents and a thriving nightlife.


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