Cindy Sheehan pledged Wednesday to "force change to happen" during protest speeches outside the White House and Capitol.
Anti war activist Sheehan arrived in Washington after a three-week cross-country bus tour that began near President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. She is expected to participate in an anti-Iraq war rally Saturday that organizers hope could draw tens of thousands of people.
Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed last year in Iraq, wants Bush to explain why he sent the United States to war and say what steps he will take to end the conflict.
"This is where we will force change to happen because we the people of America are the checks and balances on this government," she said. "And we will end this war."
Sheehan's one-woman protest in Texas this August re-energized the anti-war movement as well as supporters of the U.S.-led invasion and of American troops serving in Iraq. Rallies in opposition to the anti-war protesters also are set for this weekend in the capital, reports the AP.
According to Reuters, the fledgling movement appeared to stall after the protesters left Bush's ranch, largely overshadowed by the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. Though a second powerful hurricane now threatens the Gulf coast, the protesters said the fighting in Iraq didn't stop because of hurricanes or other bad news.
"There's still a war on," Sheehan said on Capitol Hill. "Nine Americans were killed yesterday in Iraq. We will end this war. We will bring the troops home."
Sheehan and about 30 fellow anti-Iraq war protesters left Texas on Aug. 31 split into three groups to take their message across the country.
They regrouped on Wednesday in Washington, where they will create another "Camp Casey" on the National Mall, meet with members of the U.S. Congress, and take part in the protest march and rally on Saturday.
Most of the people traveling with Sheehan were either veterans themselves or relatives of young men and women in Iraq. One couple, Linda and Phil Waste of Hinesville, Georgia, have three sons and two grandchildren who are now serving or who have served in Iraq.
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