WASHINGTON -- U.S. military mother Cindy Sheehan, whose vigil outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch drew attention to the anti-war movement, was arrested on Monday at a White House sit-in after she refused to obey police orders to leave.
Anti-war protester, and mother of a son who was killed in Iraq, Cindy
Sheehan is arrested in front of the White House by U.S. Park Police
during a protest in Washington September 26, 2005. REUTERS/Molly Riley
Civil Resistance at the White House
September 26, 2005
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Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in combat in Iraq last year, was one of some 200 protesters who sat in circles on the sidewalk along the White House compound's northern edge, purposely courting arrest. Hundreds more rallied in Lafayette Park, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the executive mansion.
Sheehan was the first of several dozen to be taken into custody, said Bill Dobbs, a spokesman for the group United for Peace and Justice, an anti-war coalition involved in the demonstration.
The crowd, which had earlier swarmed around Sheehan in support, booed the police vans meant to hold detainees and chanted "The whole world's watching" as arrests proceeded.
Those arrested were charged by the U.S. Park Police with demonstrating without a permit, a misdemeanor that carries a $50 fine.
Other slogans ranged from "Mothers say no to war" and "Liar, liar, Iraq's on fire" to "War is terrorism with a bigger budget."
"It's a very powerful protest to tell the Bush administration to end the war in Iraq," Dobbs said.
INSIDE THE GATES
Inside the White House, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan parried questions about the protest going on just beyond the gates.
Bush is "very much aware of the people here who have come to Washington, D.C., some to express support for the steps that we're taking and a number of others that have expressed a different view," McClellan said. "It's the right of the American people to peacefully express their views."
Sheehan camped out for much of August outside Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, demanding a meeting with the president. Bush, who met with Sheehan in 2004 after her son was killed, refused to meet with her a second time, but her rallies there drew hundreds of people.
Monday's protests were part of three days of anti-war actions in Washington, including a demonstration on Saturday that drew more than 100,000 people.
Earlier on Monday, 41 people were arrested by Pentagon Force Protection Agency police during an anti-war protest outside the huge U.S. military headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, said Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin.
The protest took place outside the Pentagon subway train stop used by thousands of commuters and Pentagon employees daily and near a main entrance to the building.
Irwin said the protesters were charged with disorderly conduct and impeding the entering and exiting of the Pentagon, taken to a processing facility and released with court dates.
Additional reporting by Will Dunham
Copyright 2005 Reuters Ltd