NATION IN BRIEF : NEW YORK : Ban on Donation of Blood Draws Protest

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

More than 50,000 protesters marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, closing the span and jamming traffic in a rally against a federal ruling preventing Haitians and Africans from donating blood. The marchers took over the bridge before noon and streamed into Manhattan, disrupting traffic around City Hall and prompting the Department of Transportation to issue a gridlock alert. About 50 taxi and limousine drivers added to the tie-ups. The march ended with a rally at Federal Plaza. The march was sponsored by a group called the Haitian Enforcement Against Racism, a coalition of religious, student and other organizations. The FDA restrictions on blood donors also include homosexuals, intravenous drug users and hemophiliacs and were not meant to single out any one ethnic group or imply that any group had a higher incidence of the disease, said agency spokesman Brad Stone.

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