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The Sacramento Bee (California)

Coffin Delays Clinton Fundraiser

Judy Lin

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A protester using a flag-drapped coffin as a prop has put a local fundraising event for Sen. Hillary Clinton way behind schedule.

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More than 120 people have been kept at bay waiting to enter a $500 to $4,600-per person campaign fundraiser at the home of real estate developer Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis.

Anti-war activist Stephen Pearcy, made famous last year when he hung a human-shaped form dressed in a military uniform from his Sacramento home, brought a coffin to the event as a means of expressing his displeasure with Clinton's stance on the Iraq war.

"Hillary is not welcome in Sacramento as a candidate," he said. "If you fund the war, you're keeping the troops in harm's way. She can't have it both ways."

As the Secret Service arrived on the scene, they apparently asked Pearcy to look inside the coffin. However, Pearcy refused to let them do so, saying they had no probable cause for opening the casket.

At that time, the Secret Service called in local law enforcement officials and requested a bomb inspection. Pearcy opened the coffin at that time, but local officials said that was not sufficient and proceeded with the inspection for a bomb.

Consequently, hordes of protesters, guests and media have been kept standing 300 feet from the entrance to Goethe Park on Rod Beaudry Way.

The event was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

Finally, around 8:30 p.m., Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis came out and ushered guests into her house using an alternate route through a neighbor's yard. She thanked guests for being patient and scolded protesters.

Clinton arrived at 8:40 p.m., nearly three hours after her scheduled arrival.

Copyright © The Sacramento Bee

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