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Crawford protest moves nearer to Bush

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Iraq
Justice and Rights
George W. Bush

CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- Anti-war demonstrators led by the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq will move their campsite closer to President Bush's Texas ranch.

The new site, offered by a sympathetic landowner, is just a mile from Bush's Crawford home.

The landowner is a relative of Larry Mattlage, the local rancher who fired shots into the air Sunday, saying he was preparing for "dove season," said Sheehan, the aggrieved mother. (Full story)

"This just shows me that the universe is blessing our efforts out here at Camp Casey," she said late Tuesday, referring to the camp named after her 24-year-old son.

She said demonstrators would be relocating "within the next few days."

Demonstrators say they won't leave until the commander-in-chief meets with her.

Sheehan, the founder of a group called Gold Star Families for Peace, has been camped outside Bush's Crawford ranch since August 6 in hopes of asking the president what her son died to achieve -- and to press for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

The White House has said Bush met with Sheehan after her son's death in April 2004 and has announced no plans to meet with her again.

Sheehan's protest has drawn dozens of supporters and counter-demonstrators to the town of 700 that Bush has made home. He is in the middle of a five-week vacation there.

The anti-war activist group MoveOn.org plans to hold more than 1,100 candlelight vigils to show support for her. One well-wisher in Florida delivered three dozen cartons of roses to the camp Tuesday.

Meanwhile, some Crawford residents have urged county officials to crack down on the protesters, citing traffic, parking and health concerns, the use of portable toilets and security.

"Who else is going to come up there?" asked ranch neighbor Melissa Harrison. "We don't know who all is up there protesting, what type of people it's bringing around, and I don't think they know everybody's background. So that's just my concern there."

Man arrested

Sheehan said she doesn't want to press charges against a pickup driver who early Tuesday allegedly ran over a makeshift memorial for the 1,800 Americans killed in Iraq. Police said he drove a pickup truck over 500 crosses and 40 American flags.

Court papers identified him as Larry Northern, 59, from nearby Waco.

He has been charged with a felony criminal mischief count, since damage to the memorial was estimated at more than $1,500. He was released after posting $3,000 bail, according to court records.

Sheehan said protesters would ask for a restraining order to keep the driver away from their camp.

Dave Jensen, a participant in the protest, said the truck driver appeared to be dragging a piece of pipe behind his pickup to aid in the destruction.

"The whole idea is, everybody is just supporting the troops and honoring the troops," he said. "This was definitely not a way to honor the troops, no matter what side of the fence you're on."

CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report.

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