DALLAS - A group of anti-war demonstrators returned Friday for their weekly protest outside U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's office, this time led by a fallen soldier's mother known for holding vigils near President Bush's Texas ranch.
Peace activists have camped outside the Republican senator's Dallas office to protest the war in Iraq nearly every Friday since Oct. 7, after Cindy Sheehan ended her August protest in Crawford.
About 75 people gathered without incident or arrest outside Hutchison's office, spurred by Sheehan's arrival and news of a roadside bomb that killed 10 Marines and wounded another 11 in Iraq.
"I'm heartbroken," Sheehan said. "Staying the course is murderous. You don't want to stay the course and keep on killing people because so many people have died. The killing has to stop."
Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son Casey died in Iraq last year, returned to Texas last week for a five-day protest near Bush's ranch as he spent the Thanksgiving holiday there. She was in Dallas to accept an award from a peace group.
Dallas-area supporters have been calling for a meeting with Hutchison, who wasn't at her office Friday. Her spokesman Chris Paulitz said the staff has been accessible to protesters and the senator is aware of their concerns.
"She has the same concerns and wants this war to be over, but not until the job is done and Iraq is free and stable," he said. "She's talked to people who oppose the war. It's impossible to meet with every person who has an opposing view."
After ending her 26-day protest in Crawford this summer, Sheehan and dozens of others went on a cross-country bus tour, often protesting outside congressional members' offices. Supporters who remained in Texas chose Hutchison's Dallas office. In late October, five were arrested outside during a sit-in marking the 2,000th U.S. soldier's death in the war.
On Thursday night Sheehan received an award from the Dallas Peace Center, some of whose members opened the Crawford Peace House in Bush's adopted hometown a month after the war with Iraq began in March 2003. Sheehan, of Berkeley, Calif., was given the Phoenix Award for resurrecting the peace movement, peace activists said.