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Illegal protests a possibility at Augusta

Martha Burk will seek a permit to demonstrate at the Masters about Augusta National's all-male membership, and she won't rule out an illegal protest if the site isn't close enough to the club's main gate.

Burk said Tuesday she expects her permit request this week to be turned down by officials in Augusta, Ga.

Burk's National Council of Women's Organizations was told by Sheriff Ron Strength that protests on sidewalks and just about all public sites near Augusta National will not be allowed.

She wants to demonstrate on Washington Road, somewhere near the outside entrance to the club, but Strength has said the six-lane highway is too busy.

"He made those statements to the press very early on," Burk said by telephone from Washington. "I talked to him very briefly about a week ago. There was no substance to the conversation. He said he was concerned about public safety. That was all - nothing specific."

Burk said she won't organize protests that would disrupt the action on the course during the April 10-13 tournament.

"I have no interest in lying down on the first green," she said. "Our goal is to point out the corporate hypocrisy that surrounds, feeds and creates this event."

As for some form of illegal demonstration, Burk said it depended on the results of the permit request.

"While we haven't ruled it out, it's certainly not something in our plans right now. But it's always a possibility," she said.

Strength did not immediately return telephone calls by The Associated Press to his office Tuesday.

At least two people have applied for permits to hold counterdemonstrations.


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