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1 million plus possible for Obama inauguration

world Updated: Nov 14, 2008 13:30 IST

President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration is expected to draw 1 million-plus to the US capital city, and already some lawmakers have stopped taking ticket requests and hotels have booked up.

Some people are bartering on the Web site Craigslist for places to stay for the January 20 ceremony when the Illinois senator takes the oath of office, becoming the country's first black president. They are offering cash or even help with dishes for residents willing to open up their homes.

The National Park Service, which is planning for an inaugural crowd of at least 1 million, will clear more viewing space along the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route. Jumbo TV screens will line the National Mall so people can watch the inauguration and parade, park service spokesman David Barna said on Thursday.

Washington DC's delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, is urging planners to use arenas and stadiums to help with overflow crowds wanting to view the ceremonies on big-screen TVs. She is also urging churches to hold viewing parties.

The city's police chief, Cathy Lanier, said organisers brought in an additional 3,000 officers from forces around the country to help with the last inauguration. This time, the request probably will be for about 4,000 officers.

Because of a lawsuit, people should have more standing room along the crowded parade route. War protesters sued after President George W Bush's last inauguration, forcing the government to open up more free public viewing space between the Capitol and White House.