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News and reports

September 16, 2005 | Page 15

Bring the troops home now

ATLANTA--Cindy Sheehan, who inspired thousands with her month-long peace vigil outside Bush's Texas ranch, spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of more than 400 September 10.

Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004, visited Atlanta as part of the Bring Them Home Now bus tour, sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace. Following several moving speakers, including three mothers from Atlanta whose sons died in Iraq, Sheehan addressed the crowd encouraging people to join her in Washington, D.C., for the September 24 national antiwar demonstration.

Cindy spoke about the pro-war attempts to discredit her and the Camp Casey movement. "If they didn't knock me down when they killed my son, nothing's gonna knock me down," she said to cheers.

-- In Newport, R.I., three activists with the R.I. Community Coalition for Peace (RICCP) drove an equal number of National Guard recruiters and their rock-climbing wall off Newport's First Beach on September 4.

The activists handed out counter-recruitment literature and spoke to people waiting in line to climb the wall. One recruiter, wearing a "Defend freedom" T-shirt, became agitated at this and advised the counter-recruiters to "shut your mouths and get out of here."

A beach official tried to get rid of the counter-recruiters as well, but the latter were instead able to successfully negotiate for a table right in front of the National Guard. Within minutes of this table being set up, the recruiters were pulling down their rock wall and calling it a day, two hours earlier than scheduled. RICCP later learned that the recruiters had called their supervisor, who ordered them to retreat to avoid "controversy."

Counter-recruitment activism along with the general rise in antiwar sentiment has obviously left recruiters feeling under siege. RICCP members also confronted Marine recruiters at the Rhode Island College activities fair on September 7 and signed up roughly two dozen for its e-mail list.

Desmond Gardfrey and Shaun Joseph contributed to this report.

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