Counterprotests in works for Sheehan's Germany protests
RAMSTEIN, Germany — Efforts are under way to stage a counterprotest to Cindy Sheehan’s planned March 11 demonstration outside Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Ramstein Air Base.
Sheehan, who is the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq and who protested the war last summer outside President Bush’s Texas ranch, is scheduled to participate in a daylong war protest.
Stefan Prystawik, a German writer in Bonn, is working to stage a counterprotest. On his Web site, at www.stefan-prystawik.de, Prystawik characterizes Sheehan as “the great-great grandmother of all Bush haters.”
Sheehan’s planned protest is highly inappropriate, and her complaints are “very much an internal U.S. matter,” Prystawik said.
“First of all, it’s completely inappropriate to instrumentalize the troops here particularly, and above all, those who have suffered severe injuries and are at the hospital,” he said. “They are coming here with an attitude to deliberately demoralize troops who just got back or are going to go back [to Iraq].”
Also Friday, organizers of Sheehan’s protest said that they had obtained permission from German officials in Landstuhl and Ramstein to have their demonstration March 11.
On that morning, a press conference will take place in a Protestant parish hall in Landstuhl. After the press conference, Sheehan is scheduled to share her views, said Detlev Besier, a Protestant pastor in Landstuhl and an event organizer.
It is still possible that the group may try to take gifts and baked goods to troops in Landstuhl, the U.S. military hospital where wounded troops are treated before being flown from Ramstein to the United States.
After a break for lunch, protesters will walk from Landstuhl to a parking lot outside Ramstein’s west gate where a “Camp Casey” will be set up to pay tribute to those who have died in the Iraq war.
Sheehan’s son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004.
Besier said his group does not like the high emotions stirred by news of Sheehan’s visit.
“We want to bring the emotion down,” he said.
“We don’t want to have emotional conflict. It’s not our aim to come too close to somebody. We want to have discussion, and we know Cindy Sheehan wants to open the minds of mothers who have sons, children around the world.”