WASHINGTON — Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who has used her son’s death in Iraq to spur the antiwar movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House.
Sheehan and several dozen other protesters sat down on the sidewalk after marching along the pedestrian walkway on Pennsylvania Avenue. Police warned them three times that they were breaking the law by failing to move along, then began making arrests.
Sheehan, 48, was the first taken into custody. She stood up and was handcuffed, then led to a police vehicle while protesters chanted, “The whole world is watching.”
Others who were arrested also cooperated with police. Sgt. Scott Fear, spokesman for the U.S. Park Police, said they would be charged with demonstrating without a permit, which is a misdemeanor.
Park Police Sgt. L.J. McNally said Sheehan and the others would be taken to a processing center where they would be fingerprinted and photographed, then given a ticket and released. The process would take several hours, he said.
Sheehan’s 24-year-old son, Casey, was killed in an ambush in Sadr City, Iraq, last year. She attracted worldwide attention last month with her 26-day vigil outside President Bush’s Texas ranch.
Several hundred protesters in D.C.
Sheehan was among several hundred demonstrators who marched around the White House on Monday and then stopped in front and began singing and chanting “Stop the war now!” Organizers had said some planned to be arrested.
The demonstration is part of a broader antiwar effort on Capitol Hill organized by United for Peace and Justice, an umbrella group. Representatives from antiwar groups were meeting Monday with members of Congress to urge them to work to end the war and bring home the troops.
The protest following a massive demonstration Saturday on the National Mall that drew a crowd of 100,000 or more, the largest such gathering in the capital since the war began in March 2003.
On Sunday, a rally supporting the war drew roughly 500 participants. Speakers included veterans of World War II and the war in Iraq, as well as family members of soldiers killed in Iraq.
“I would like to say to Cindy Sheehan and her supporters, ‘Don’t be a group of unthinking lemmings.’ It’s not pretty,” said Mitzy Kenny of Ridgeley, W.Va., whose husband died in Iraq last year. The antiwar demonstrations “can affect the war in a really negative way. It gives the enemy hope.”
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