WASHINGTON, June 19, 1953 (UP) - Thousands of men, women and children plodded before the White House last night, grimly entreating President Eisenhower to spare atom spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg from the electric chair. Between 2,000 and 3,000 pickets who came here by special train from New York, Newark and Philadelphia were given heavy police protection.
The mass demonstration began at 6 p.m. and at 11:01 p.m. - the hour when the Rosenbergs would have been dead had it not been for the execution stay granted by Associate Justice William O. Douglas - most of the pickets returned to their special train and went home. About 25 continued the vigil throughout the night.
The pickets were well organized and thoroughly disciplined by lieutenants who raced up and down the line, barking orders for everything from coffee breaks to visits in the comfort stations across Pennsylvania Ave. from the White House.
Walking two and three abreast, the pickets paraded in a huge ring around the block occupied by the Treasury. They filled the sidewalk on the Pennsylvania Ave. side of the White House, and spilled over to a third picket line in front of the old State Department building.
Less than a dozen anti-Rosenberg pickets marched at one end of the White House block carrying home-made placards saying "Kill the dirty spies and ship their bones to Russia" and "Kill the stinking rotten Reds."
A heavy stream of automobile traffic circled slowly around the area. Curses exploded frequently from passing cars as the pickets were urged to "go back to Russia."
The lights of the White House gleamed behind the iron fence and small police huts at each gate. Mrs. Eisenhower likes to keep the curtains up to give the place a cheerier look, but last night the shades were down.