(CNSNews.com) - Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan announced Wednesday that she plans to begin an "open-ended hunger strike" on July 4 to urge the Bush administration to bring troops home from Iraq.
"We hope the fast will galvanize public attention, invigorate the peace movement, build pressure on elected officials, and get our troops back home," Sheehan said in a statement posted on the anti-war blogosphere.
The fast, organized by Code Pink and Sheehan's Gold Star Families for Peace, will begin on Independence Day in Washington, D.C. In her statement Sheehan said she would move the fast to Crawford, Texas, where the president owns a ranch and often vacations.
Sheehan gained national attention in August 2005 when she staged a protest outside the Crawford ranch to protest the war. She named the protest "Camp Casey" in memory of her son, Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.
In her latest statement, Sheehan wrote that celebrities like singer Willie Nelson, actor Danny Glover and comedian Dick Gregory will show their support for her by joining in a one-day fast. She urged her supporters to do the same.
Sheehan is currently in Vienna, Austria, protesting President Bush's appearances there. He is in Europe to meet with leaders of the European Summit, seeking support for the United States' efforts to spread democracy in the Middle East.
In an interview posted on Code Pink's website, the group's co-founder Diane Wilson said the fast would show solidarity with Iraqis and U.S. troops. "Their bodies are on the line every day," Wilson said, referring to Iraqi civilians. "And so are the bodies of the U.S. soldiers. So shouldn't we be putting our bodies on the line?"
Wilson told her interviewer, fellow Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin, that a hunger strike "can be a very powerful action." She mentioned three previous hunger strikes she organized, two of which lasted more than four weeks.
The "Troops Home Fast," Wilson said, means that she will abstain from food and drink, with the exception of water, as long as possible. "I don't know how long I can fast," she said, "but I'm making this an open-ended fast. I plan to take this as far as I've ever taken anything in my 58 years."
Wilson acknowledged that her fast might not get the attention of Bush, who after meeting with Sheehan once to offer his condolences for the loss of her son, has ignored her requests for another meeting. "Some fasts are successful," Wilson said in her interview, "others aren't. You never know."
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