Utah Protesters Plan Vigil as War Looms

Utah Protesters Plan Vigil as War Looms

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah protesters have rallied for weeks against an Iraqi war, and as the war approaches they are increasing the intensity and volume of their message.

And once the war begins, protesters have planned an around-the-clock vigil outside of the federal building in downtown Salt Lake City.

The protesters have a permit that will allow then to wrap up in blankets and spend the night on the concrete plaza in front of the building, said Diana Lee Hirschi.

"If there's something that can be done, we've done it," Hirschi said. "We will keep doing everything that we can think of, but we will not stop, and we will not stand down, and we will not be intimidated."

Protesters plan to camp out indefinitely in protest of military action against Iraq.

Hirschi will stay at the vigil as long as family responsibilities and a job will allow, she said. A nearby building will allow protesters access to restrooms during the night, and friends will serve coffee and tea, she said.

The protesters have rallied against the war for the last several months. The informal group, known as People for Peace and Justice in Utah, will continue holding rallies, marches, vigils, and forums against the war.

The Rev. Michael Mayor decided to hold a peace and justice service at the All Saints Episcopal Church after hearing President Bush's ultimatum Monday evening to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Mayor said the service is for both pacifists and war supporters.

"There are people of good conscious who are supportive of the war and there are people of good conscious who are against the war," Mayor said. "We need a place where we can all come together and pray for peace and justice without letting go of our conviction."

People who were arrested Monday for refusing to leave the office of Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, also plan to continue peaceful protests, said Deanna Taylor, a representative from Utah Citizens for Peace.

"We're still going to make our voices known that we oppose this war," said Taylor, who participated in the Monday protest but was not arrested. "We're still going to be lobbying our representatives. We're not going to taking a defeatist attitude."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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