CRAWFORD, Texas — The fallen soldier’s mother who drew thousands to her 26-day war protest near President Bush’s ranch this summer plans to return for Thanksgiving next week, despite new county ordinances banning roadside camping.
Cindy Sheehan and at least a dozen supporters are prepared to be arrested as they return to the makeshift campsite along the road leading to Bush’s ranch, where he is expected to spend the holiday.
“It is critical for our democracy that we continue to ask the same questions that Cindy Sheehan asked this summer: What is the noble cause for the war with Iraq, and at what point do we say enough bloodshed has happened?” said Hadi Jawad, co-founder of the Crawford Peace House.
Bush has defended the decision to go into Iraq in 2003, citing the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Bush also has said troops need to remain in Iraq as long as necessary.
Tough new regulations
Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son Casey was killed in Iraq last year, was not arrested during the vigil that coincided with Bush’s working vacation at his ranch just outside Crawford.
But dozens of residents in the rural area complained of noise and traffic congestion as the protesters pitched tents in shallow ditches about 2½ miles away from the ranch. Some traffic was from counter protests of hundreds of Bush supporters who said Sheehan’s group was hurting troop morale.
A month later, McLennan County commissioners approved the new ordinances, which prohibit parking on parts of 14 roads near the ranch — roughly a 5-mile radius — and prohibit camping in any county ditch. The laws also ban portable toilets in ditches.
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