Anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in the Iraq war, said on Thursday she would temporarily leave her camp site near President George W. Bush's ranch because her mother had suffered a stroke.
"We just had a terrible call," Sheehan told reporters. "My mom had a stroke."
Sheehan, whose vigil has drawn attention to her demands for a pullout of troops from Iraq, flew to Los Angeles with her sister to see her mother, Shirley Miller, 74. Her supporters said she hoped to return in the next 24 to 48 hours, depending on her mother's condition.
"I'll be back as soon as possible but we'll keep you posted," Sheehan said.
The protester, whose 24-year-old son Casey was killed in combat in Iraq last year, has spent the last 12 days camping out down the road from the ranch where Bush is vacationing.
Sheehan, who met with Bush in 2004, is demanding a second meeting so she can ask him about his justifications for war and urge him to bring home the troops. The White House has refused a meeting, though Bush has expressed sympathy for the Vacaville, California, woman.
More than 1,800 Americans have been killed in Iraq and thousands more have been wounded, reports Bloomberg.
In spite of the protests Vice President Cheney declared Thursday that the United States "will not relent" in the war in Iraq and will hunt down insurgents there "one at a time if necessary," implicitly rebutting escalating pressure on the Bush administration to bring U.S. troops home.
Addressing a friendly audience of combat veterans a day after antiwar candlelight vigils were held around the nation, Cheney cast victory in Iraq as "critical to the future security of the U.S." and said the country should not lose its resolve to defeat the militants.
"They believe that America will lose our nerve and let down our guard," he said at the 73rd national convention of the Military Order of the Purple Heart held in Springfield, Mo., according to a transcript provided by the White House. "They are sorely mistaken," informs Washington Post.