War protesters will have a new and bigger gathering place when they return in August to President Bush's adopted hometown: a 5-acre lot bought with insurance money Cindy Sheehan received after her son was killed in Iraq.
Gerry Fonseca, a fellow war protester who acted as Sheehan's agent, said he recently bought the vacant lot about a mile from downtown Crawford — and about 7 miles from Bush's ranch — for $52,500. About half the land is pasture, and the other half is woods, he said.
"If Cindy Sheehan came to town, I don't think anybody would have sold her any property," Fonseca, of Eagle Rock, Mo., told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Sheehan, of Berkeley, Calif., started the protest last August in ditches off the winding, two-lane road leading to the ranch, demanding to talk to the president. The vigil drew more than 10,000 demonstrators over the 26 days, but also spurred counter protests of thousands of Bush supporters.
The protesters then moved to a 1-acre lot about a mile from Mr. Bush's ranch, where a few hundred returned for protests during Thanksgiving and Easter, but the arrangement with the property owner did not work out this summer, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in Thursday editions.
Sheehan told The Associated Press in an e-mail Thursday that the group simply wanted more space.
"We decided to buy property in Crawford to use until George's resignation or impeachment, which we all hope is soon for the sake of the world," Sheehan, whose oldest son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004, said in a newsletter set to be sent to supporters Thursday. "I can't think of a better way to use Casey's insurance money than for peace, and I am sure that Casey approves."
The anti-war gathering in Crawford was scheduled to start Aug. 16 and last through early September, but it will begin several days earlier because Bush is to be at the ranch for his working vacation mainly during the first two weeks of August.