Hundreds join anti-war protest at Bush
Several hundred people have joined a protest near US President George
W Bush's holiday ranch in Texas to demonstrate against the war in Iraq.
The two-week-old protest organised by Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed
in Iraq last year, is being held to call for the withdrawal of the 138,000 US
troops deployed there.
The protest has been addressed by veterans of the military action in Iraq
who now oppose the war.
"I joined because of September 11. I thought I was going to make a
difference and help the situation but after experiencing war, seeing the death
and seeing that violence only begets more violence. an eye for an eye leaves
the whole world blind," veterans like Hart Vigus said.
A counter-protest by supporters of Mr Bush has been held nearby.
"They're getting our troops killed because they make us look like a bunch
of cowards over here, you see," said a Bush supporter.
"I don't want the enemy watching this thinking we're ready to cut and run
because America will fight these people."
Standing outside the gates of Mr Bush's Prairie Chapel ranch, where he is
taking a five-week break from Washington, Mrs Sheehan is demanding to see the
She has said she will follow him back to Washington and camp out in front
of the White House if he refuses.
On Friday, the President was forced to run a gauntlet of demonstrators as
he ventured from his ranch for a political fundraiser.
As Mr Bush's motorcade sped past, Mrs Sheehan clutched a sign that read,
"Why Do You Make Time for Donors And Not For Me?"
The demonstrators planted some 500 white wooden crosses on the road to the
ranch, each with the name of a US soldier killed in Iraq.
With a recent spike in US casualties in Iraq, support for the war is
flagging in the United States.
As the number of US troops killed since the war began in March 2003 rose to
over 1,800, about 61 per cent of Americans disapproved of how the President is
handling Iraq, according to a recent Newsweek magazine survey.
Mr Bush in his weekly radio address on Saturday argued that the situation
"Iraqis are taking control of their country, building a free nation that
can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself," he said.
He made no direct mention of the protesters or the decline in support for
his policies among Americans generally.