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Mother of Slain US Soldier Arrested in Iraq War Protest

Published on Thursday, October 27, 2005 by the Agence France Presse

US police arrested Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq who has become a prominent war opponent, along with two dozen people for demonstrating without authoritization in front of the White House.

Anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan is arrested by U.S. Park Police officers outside the White House during a protest Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2005. Sheehan's son Casey was killed in Iraq. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Sheehan and the other protestors staged a "die-in" in front of the the White House, lying on the ground to symbolize US soldiers killed in Iraq.

Several dozen sympathizers applauded as Sheehan and others were taken away, while counter-protestors booed the group.

"Cindy Sheehan has been arrested with about 25 other people because she was demonstrating without a permit in front of the White House," said lieutenant Phil Beck of the US Park Police.

"They laid down on the sidewalk without a permit, they were advised three times to leave the area, they chose not to leave therefore they were arrested," Beck said.

"Most of them will probably be released tonight," he said. They face a 75 dollar fine.

Sheehan became an icon of the anti-war movement when she camped outside President George W. Bush's ranch in Texas during his August vacation, demanding he meet her for a second time. Sheehan had met the president earlier with a group of families of fallen soldiers.

She had called Tuesday for civil disobedience around the country to demand the withdrawal of the 140,000 US troops from Iraq as the US military death toll hit 2,000.

"There comes a time when we have to break a small law, like sitting down in front of the White House, in order to point out a greater law that's being broken," Sheehan said in a statement Wednesday.

"I can't imagine a greater law being broken than a war being waged in our name, whose justifications have proven to be false, and yet goes on and on anyway, taking the lives of thousands of people," she said.

Ann Wilcox, a protestor with the anti-war group Code Pink, called Sheehan "the Rosa Parks of our movement."

Parks, who died this week at age 92, helped spark the civil rights movement nearly 50 years ago when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in segregated Alabama, an act that led to the black woman's arrest.

"I think middle of the road people are starting to see the futility of this war," Wilcox said. "We are going to continue putting our bodies on the line and being arrested."

Sheehan was arrested in front of the White House late last month along with 370 other protestors and then released.

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