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Anti-war camp irons out snags before moving to safer location



Published: Thu, August 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



One of the president's neighbors offered Sheehan's group an area to use.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS

CRAWFORD, Texas -- Organizers of the anti-war camp near President Bush's ranch worked through some eleventh-hour snags Wednesday to move their protest to a more secure site after participating in evening candlelight vigils across the nation.

Cindy Sheehan, who pitched the camp Aug. 6, said the vigils were a way for others to express support for her and her demand to confront the president on the war in Iraq.

"A lot of people can't come here," she said. "So, this is a way for them to show their support where they live."

Her son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed in an attack in Iraq last year. Sheehan has sought a second meeting with Bush to press her plea to pull all U.S. forces out of Iraq.

Her first, along with some other families of fallen military personnel, was at Fort Lewis, Wash., just a couple of months after her son died April 4, 2004. And since then, she's been a fixture in the anti-war movement, traveling from one end of the country to the other.

"The movement was there," she said Wednesday. "They just wanted a spark."

Invitation to new location

Her camp at the fork in the road to Bush's Prairie Chapel Ranch has drawn international attention over the last two weeks. But some neighbors have complained about the commotion and congestion that often surrounds it, and organizers have accepted the offer of a nearby landowner, Fred Mattlage, to move to a couple of parcels owned by his family.

One -- an acre or so at one of the Secret Service checkpoints near the president's ranch -- would be large enough for the protesters' rallies. And the second -- across the road -- could be used for parking.

But Sheehan said organizers were still addressing a few unspecified "legal issues" that delayed a move until at least today, if not longer.

Mattlage told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that he had invited the anti-war demonstrators onto his family land as an "act of compassion."

Sheehan, grateful for his support, said the new site would be much more convenient and safer because it moves the original camp out of the ditches along a sometimes-busy road and provides more space for portable toilets and other amenities.




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