Dozens of war protesters packed up their tents and left their campsite in a field near President George W. Bush's ranch Sunday, vowing to return during Easter for a third vigil if US troops are still in Iraq.
The weeklong protest, which coincided with Bush's Thanksgiving holiday visit to his ranch, drew about 200 people. It was a continuation of the August demonstration led by California mother Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey died in Iraq last year during combat.
Protesters credit the summer vigil, which they say attracted some 12,000 people over the 26 days, with shifting American sentiment about the war. They said they returned to keep pressure on Bush to end the war, although they knew turnout would be lower during the holidays.
"We're here for the long haul. As long as this country is at war with Iraq, we'll be here to oppose it," said Hadi Jawad, a co-founder of the Crawford Peace House, which opened a month after the war began in March 2003. "I think Crawford has become a point of pilgrimage to a lot of people. This has become hallowed ground."