As US authorities prepared unprecedented security for the 20 January event, organisers on Wednesday said thousands of protesters would stage a noisy counterpoint to the lavish $40 million celebration.

One group of anti-war activists said it would carry 1000 coffins to the White House and stage a "die in" to protest against the lives lost in Iraq.

Another group said it had obtained a permit to protest along a 200ft section of the parade route but planned to sue for more access to the large sections of Pennsylvania Avenue set aside for Bush supporters.

"The Bush administration, in conjunction with the National Park Service, is trying to stage-manage democracy," Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a lawyer for the anti-war group International Answer, said.

Comment declined

A spokeswoman for the US Secret Service, which is overseeing security for the inauguration, declined immediate comment.

The US Secret Service is in charge
of security for 20 January events

Organisers said the protests were to express opposition to a range of Bush policies, from the war in Iraq to economic programmes.

"We are facing a right-wing future that has no sympathy for the concerns of black people and the poor in this country," Shazza Nzingha, founder of the National Alliance of Black Panthers, said.

One organisation called Turn Your Back on Bush wants people to stake out spots along the parade route and turn their backs on Bush's limousine when it rolls by.

"There are a lot of people who feel Bush has turned his back on them," field director Sarah Kauffman said.

In a separate event, black-clad protesters will wave puppets and beat drums to protest against capitalism and organised government.