By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Washington, D.C.At just past noon on Wednesday, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and the rest of the Bring Them Home Now tour were stopped by a pair of squad cars two blocks from the U.S. Capitol by members of the Capitol police force. Officers explained that they wanted to use bomb-sniffing dogs to inspect the caravan of three RVs and several cars.
The officers said it was standard practice to inspect large vehicles in the area. RVs arent allowed on Capitol Hill, one said. Thats standard procedure. Any trucks that come on Capitol Hill are stopped and turned around. Campers arent allowed at all, the officer said, unless theyve been previously authorized.
Officers told the peace activists they couldnt park at the Capitol because they dont have the proper permits. Sheehan and company then began preparing to make the rest of the trek on foot. Awaiting them near the Capitol steps were a crowd of television cameras for a scheduled noon press conference.
Earlier this week in New York Citys Union Square park, police officers unplugged Sheehans microphone, saying she didnt have a proper permit for that either.
People with Bring Them Home Now seemed unfazed. Its always something, said Stacy Bannerman of Military Families Speak Out, whose husband spent a year fighting in the Sunni Triangle. Its just part of the deal.
The conference is being held by Sheehan and the others to announce their arrival in Washington and to kick off a weekend of resistance that is expected to include a march of 100,000 people and mass civil disobedience.
At 1:30 p.m., Sheehan and her allies plan to head to the White House, where theyll attempt to give President Bush a letter asking him to answer the question, What noble cause are our loved ones dying for?