War protested nationwide during candlelight vigils

Rallies held in Baltimore, D.C., elsewhere in region

August 18, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON - Antiwar demonstrators held candlelight vigils across the country last night, energized by Cindy Sheehan, the California mother of a fallen soldier who has camped out for almost two weeks near President Bush's central Texas ranch, demanding a face-to-face meeting with him.

In the Baltimore area, protesters held vigils in Bel Air, North Baltimore, Catonsville and elsewhere.

In Washington, 400 to 500 demonstrators gathered silently in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. Many held candles and wore name tags that identified their links to people who have served in the Iraq war, such as "aunt," "mother" or "friend."

After about 20 minutes of silence, the crowd began chanting "Meet with Cindy," "Tell her the truth," "End the war now" and "No more lies."

Stephanie Cooper, a Washington resident, held up a sign that urged the president, who is spending August at his ranch, "Next Time Vacation in Iraq."

"I'm disgusted that he's riding his bike and reading novels while this is going on," Cooper said. "He seems to be on vacation all the time."

Bill Black, also of Washington, wore a sticker that read "patriot" and held up a sign reading, "Draft the Bush Twins."

As the crowd dwindled after the scheduled half-hour vigil, protesters gathered in a circle and began singing songs including "Amazing Grace" and "This Land is Your Land."

MoveOn.org, a liberal group that helped Sheehan promote the vigils, said about 100,000 protesters participated nationwide. By yesterday afternoon, about 60,000 had signed up on the organization's Web site.

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