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Hollywood Celebs to join Cindy Sheehan in hunger strike

from iol.co.za:

JULY 4, 2006

By Stephen Collinson

Washington - Hollywood actor-activists including Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon and anti-war campaigners led by bereaved mother Cindy Sheehan plan to launch a hunger strike on Monday, demanding the immediate return of American troops from Iraq.

As Americans get set to fire up their barbeques in patriotic celebration of Independence Day on July 4, anti-war protesters planned to savour a last meal outside the White House, before embarking on a "Troops Home Fast" at midnight.

"We've marched, held vigils, lobbied Congress, camped out at Bush's ranch, we've even gone to jail, now it's time to do more," said Sheehan, who emerged as an anti-war icon after losing her 24-year-old son Casey in Iraq.

Despite polls which show the Iraq war is unpopular and many Americans are sceptical of President George Bush's wartime leadership, peace protests have not hit the opinion-swaying critical mass seen during Vietnam War.

"We have been continually sheltered from the actual cost of war from the beginning," said Meredith Dearborn, of human rights group Global Exchange, explaining how anti-Iraq war protests have stuttered.

The hunger strike will see at least four activists, Sheehan, veteran comedian and peace campaigner Dick Gregory, former army colonel Ann Wright and environmental campaigner Diane Wilson launch serious, long-term fasts.

"I don't know how long I can fast, but I am making this open-ended," said Wilson.

Other supporters, including Penn, Sarandon, novelist Alice Walker and actor Danny Glover will join a "rolling fast", a relay in which 2 700 activists pledge to refuse food for at least 24 hours, and then hand over to a comrade.

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