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AIDS protest planned at Bush Kennebunkport compound

NEW YORK -- Thousands of AIDS activists planned to converge for a weekend protest at George Bush's Kennebunkport vacation town to demand better leadership in the war against AIDS, a spokeswoman for the group said Saturday.

At least 2,000 people from around the country were expected Sunday to march through the normally staid resort town to the Bush compound on Walker's Point, said spokeswoman Laurie Cotter of the New York chapter of ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.

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In a statement of support for ACT UP's demonstation, Jeanne White, mother of Ryan White, the youth who captured national attention before dying of AIDS, said, 'We've all lost too many precious lives not to do something now. Please do something, Mr. President. We cannot wait any longer.'

Earlier this summer, Harvard University cancelled its plans to host the annual international AIDS conference, criticizing the administration's immigration policies banning entry for most people infected with HIV, which causes AIDS.

The protesters planned to deliver to the president's vacation home a huge banner saying, 'The AIDS crisis CAN end,' and use golf clubs to beat on a pinata shaped in Bush's image and filled with AIDS care messages.

But police said Saturday they have made arrangements to close down part of the town, including the central shopping district, for most of Sunday.

An ACTUP spokesman was quoted in a local paper as saying the delivery to Bush's door would be 'symbolic,' perhaps reflecting the fact that police were going to move up a checkpoint that ordinarily regulates or bans vehicular and pedestrian traffic from the road in front of the Bush family estate.

ACT UP said the Labor Day holiday weekend protest opened the group's national '30 Days of Direct Action' that will culminate with a White House demonstration Sept. 30 charging that Bush has failed to respond to the AIDS epidemic, which has claimed 120,000 American lives.

Cotter said, 'With over a million more citizens infected with HIV, the United States still has no nationally cpoordinated plan to end the aids epidemic and President Bush continues to refuse to provide leadership.'

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