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Joan Baez Plays to Texas Protest Crowd

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Folk-music legend Joan Baez, who established her career with her commitment to social issues such as civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War, reprised her role as an anti-war protester Sunday night with an appearance at Camp Sheehan in Crawford, Texas, outside of President Bush’s ranch.

Baez played a free concert Sunday for about 500 people from the camp named for Cindy Sheehan, whose son, 24-year-old Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq last year, the Associated Press reports.

“It was the final tear for the overflow and you can’t stop running water,” Baez said of Sheehan’s protest.

Compared to the first anti-Vietnam war protest Baez attended, she said the gathering in Crawford was “huge.” “In the first march I went to (against Vietnam) there were 10 of us,” Baez told AP.

The folk singer said she had not met Sheehan, but that the two had spoken by phone. Sheehan took leave of her camp last week in order to be with her mother, who suffered a stroke. But she is expected to return this week and has said that she will stay until the president meets with her or until his vacation ends Sept. 3.

Sheehan’s protest has been gathering steam since Aug. 6, when she first parked herself outside the ranch for the president’s monthlong summer vacation. The campsite recently relocated to a space closer to Bush’s property after the number of protesters swelled over the original space.

Locally, the camp has drawn protests from residents of the sleepy Texas town, who claim that all the people make getting around difficult. Other residents and people outside the state who support the war have founded a pro-Bush camp called Fort Qualls, named for a 20-year-old marine, Louis Wayne Qualls, who was killed in Fallujah.