Crawford, Texas — War protesters say they are determined to demonstrate outside President Bush's ranch during the Thanksgiving holiday despite the arrests of a dozen people Wednesday.
The group had pitched six tents along the road in defiance of new local bans on roadside camping and parking. Many in the group held up signs, including one that said "Give me liberty or give me a ditch."
More than two dozen McLennan County Sheriff's deputies arrived and asked if they wanted to walk out on their own or be carried. Two chose to be carried.
A dozen others left after deputies warned them they would be arrested.
The 12 arrested for criminal trespassing were released later in the afternoon on personal recognizance bonds and ordered to appear in court in January.
Among them was Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam war, who estimated it was his 70th arrest for various protests since the 1970s.
"Those of us who finally saw through the Vietnam war saw through this war, and all the actions that were necessary to end the Vietnam war will be necessary here," Ellsberg said Wednesday. "I think the American people will get us out of this (war)."
Ellsberg became famous for his release of the secret documents, which indicated the government had deceived the public about whether the Vietnam war could be won and the extent of casualties.
Also arrested Wednesday was Ann Wright, who resigned her post as a senior diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia in 2003 in protest of the war with Iraq.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan wasn't among the protesters Wednesday because of a family emergency in California, but she planned to join soon. The demonstration is expected to continue on a private 1-acre lot that a sympathetic landowner let them use about a mile from Bush's ranch during the last several weeks of their summer protest.
"We are proud to be here," Dede Miller, Sheehan's sister, said hours before her arrest as she huddled in a blanket at the campsite. "This is just so important. What we did in August really moved us forward, and this is just a continuation of it."
In August, hundreds of demonstrators camped off the road during a 26-day protest led by Sheehan, whose 24-year-old soldier son Casey was killed in Iraq last year. But a month later, county commissioners banned camping in any county ditch and parking within 7 miles of the ranch, citing safety and traffic congestion issues.
Earlier this week, three demonstrators filed a federal lawsuit against McLennan County over the two local bans.