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Group protests war in Iraq

October 27, 2005|by TRISH RUDDER

trishr@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - About 20 people gathered Wednesday to protest the Iraq War at the local office of U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., on Foxcroft Avenue in Martinsburg.

Some held war protest placards and stood on the sidewalk in front of the office building, and others stood on the sidewalk in front of the Holiday Inn across the street.

Several horns were honked in support as people drove by the protesters.

Marking the 2,000th American military death, the participants in the vigil want Capito to support a Congressional effort to bring U.S. troops home, said Jamie Gregory, one of the organizers.

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"We are trying to get Capito's office to vote against the war," he said.

"We need a rethinking of the policies," he said, "and the ultimate goal is to have our troops come home and a dialogue about an international peace strategy."

Gregory said "the Bush administration has said for those who have died in Iraq to not have died in vain the war needs to go on, which will lead to more deaths."

"It has been said 'there are not enough bullets or bombs to kill all your enemies,'" Gregory said.

Participant Kris Loken said: "How many more people have to die for the lies of this administration? The Iraq War has failed, and the longer we stay, the worse it will get."

Shortly after the vigil began at 12:30 p.m., three City of Martinsburg policemen arrived because the building manager, Virginia Stotler, said the building that houses Capito's office is owned by Van Wyk Enterprises and the sidewalk is on their property.

A Holiday Inn spokesman, who would not give his name, also said the sidewalk was private property.

Martinsburg Police Department Sgt. John Sherman spent most of the vigil trying to determine whether the sidewalks on Foxcroft Avenue where the participants gathered were private property.

Sherman also told the participants they would have to remove their cars from the parking lots.

When the vigil was over at 2 p.m., Sherman said he still had not received an answer regarding the sidewalks.

He suggested to the participants that they contact city hall or the police department before any future demonstrations, "so we know ahead of time to alleviate any potential problem," he said.

Participant John Smith said: "It's a damn shame. She (Capito) has an office to represent the people, and her office is off limits to us. All we want is to tell her we are against the war. We are here because she supports the war and we don't support the war."

No one in Capito's office would comment on the demonstration.

A similar event was held Wednesday evening in Chambersburg, Pa.'s Memorial Square, according to a news release from Four-States for Democracy, a local group participating in the vigil.

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