Crawford Protesters Arrested

McLennan County deputies arrested a dozen war protesters Wednesday near Crawford while Federal District Judge Walter Smith refused to block enforcement of new McLennan County ordinances restricting parking around the Bush ranch and banning roadside camping countywide.

The arrests Wednesday were the first under the new McLennan County ordinance banning temporary structures from the public right of way along county roads.

McLennan County commissioners approved the ordinances in September after residents complained about traffic and expressed safety concerns in the aftermath of war protests in August.

The demonstrators were arrested about four hours after they pitched tents and huddled in sleeping bags and blankets.

The arrests were peaceful, although two protesters chose to be carried by deputies.

They demonstrators were taken to the McLennan County Jail for booking.

While deputies made the arrest, Smith was holding a hearing on a suit filed by the Texas Criminal Justice Project on behalf of three anti-war activists who claim the new county ordinances restricting parking and banning roadside camping are an unconstitutional threat to their right to protest.

Smith declined to issue a temporary restraining order, barring the county from enforcing the ordinances.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose roadside vigil in August inspired the protest and led to passage of the new ordinances, was not in Central Texas Wednesday.

Delayed by what supporters said was a family emergency, she was expected to arrive here Friday.

The President and Mrs. Bush flew Tuesday from Washington to Waco to spend the Thanksgiving holiday.