WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Thousands of protesters from around the country gathered in Washington Saturday to demonstrate against expanding government intrusions, witnesses said.
The attendees at the rally, spurred by U.S. President Barack Obama's efforts to reform the U.S. healthcare system and organized by anti-tax groups, stretched by Saturday morning from Washington's downtown Freedom Plaza onto Pennsylvania Avenue and into surrounding streets as demonstrators prepared for a march to the U.S. Capitol, The New York Times reported.
The newspaper said the demonstrators carried signs reading, "Congress: are you stoned or just stupid? Please wake up and save America," "We are under attack by our own government," and "Our Constitution has termites!"
The Times said the rally started peacefully, with few counterdemonstrators. The protesters reportedly identified themselves as Republicans, libertarians and independents, with some speakers denouncing the healthcare reforms as "socialism" and others carrying Confederate and U.S. flags.
As the marchers rallied in Washington, Obama was flying to Minneapolis to stump for his healthcare reform agenda. In his weekly radio and Internet address, he warned that failure to institute reforms would result in nearly half of all Americans under age 65 possibly losing their health coverage at some point in the next decade.
Third day of violence in Kampala
KAMPALA, Uganda, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Rioting was reported in Kampala Saturday in a third day of violence between government troops and loyalists to King Ronald Mutebi, Ugandan officials said.
At least 13 people have died since rioting began amid rumors Mutebi had been arrested by the government of President Yoweri Museveni, CNN attributed to local media Saturday.
The rumors proved false, but tensions increased between government troops and followers of Mutebi, the Bugandan king accused by Museveni of taking foreign money to fund a hate campaign against the government, CNN reported.
Budganda is one of Uganda's four ancient kingdoms, the kings limited to overseeing traditional and cultural affairs.
The violence flared Thursday when Museveni's government said it would not let Mutebi visit a region inhabited by a renegade rival group, CNN reported.
Rioters in Kampala burned tires and cars, set fire to buildings and looted stores, witnesses told CNN.
Execution date requested for sniper
WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A Virginia court is mulling a Nov. 9 execution date for John Muhammad, convicted in a series of sniper slayings in the Washington, D.C., area, authorities said.
The execution date was requested by Katherine Burnett, Virginia's senior assistant attorney general, CNN reported Saturday. The chief judge of the Prince William County Circuit Court must hold a hearing within 10 days of a request and must set an execution date no later than 60 days after the hearing, prosecutors said.
Muhammad's lawyer, Jon Sheldon, said he will ask Virginia's governor for clemency and appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Muhammad, 48, was convicted of murdering Dean Meyers, 53 at a Manassas, Va., gas station and killing one person in Maryland.
Muhammad's partner, Lee Malvo, 24, who was a teenager at the time of the killings, was sentenced to life in prison for the death of Kenneth Bridges, 53, in Fredericksburg, Va.
Authorities said Muhammad and Malvo shot 13 people, killing 10, during a terrifying three-week span in October 2002. They also are suspected in other shootings and slayings in Tacoma, Wash., Montgomery, Ala., and the Washington, D.C., area.
Malvo testified Muhammad, an Army veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, hated the United States and intended to kill six people a day for 30 days, then recruit more youths to begin a second phase of killings.
Child killer allowed brief visit home
CHARLEROI, Belgium, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Convicted killer Marc Dutroux was allowed a brief visit to the house where four girls died before being returned to his prison cell, Belgian police said.
Dutroux, 53, was allowed to see the home Friday under a legal technicality that allowed him to challenge the sale price of the home, The Times of London reported Saturday.
The town of Charleroi is buying the home -- known locally as the House of Horrors -- for $33,000 and intends to tear it down, The Times reported.
Dutroux, who will receive no money from the sale, remained silent Friday and did not visit the secret cellar where he kept children as sex slaves, police told The Times.
Dutroux was accompanied by more than 30 police officers. He had escaped guards and remained free for several hours before the start of his trial in 2004.
He was convicted of killing two girls. Two other girls, Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, both 8, starved to death in Dutroux's cellar while he was in jail on a charge of car theft, police said.