Protesters, separated by orange fencing, gather at prison
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Death penalty supporters gathered for Timothy McVeigh's execution huddled quietly on bleachers outside the federal prison early Monday, holding homemade signs in the glare of television spotlights.
On the other side of orange snow fencing, about 400 yards away, a larger contingent of 120 death penalty opponents sat on straw bales, some holding flickering candles in milk carton holders.
At 5:12 a.m. EDT, more than half of opponents formed a circle and began 168 minutes of silence one minute for each of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. Some men on death row also were expected to participate.
Only about 20 death penalty supporters took the early buses from a city park to the makeshift protest grounds. Opponents were bused in from another city park. Uniformed prison guards patrolled the grassy space between the two groups.
Prison officials had prepared for thousands of demonstrators to show up. But they numbered about 140 in the early morning hours Monday.
Ajamu Baraka of Amnesty International attributed the small turnout to the fact that McVeigh's execution was being carried out by the federal government and that death penalty opponents were urged to demonstrate in their own hometowns.
Russell Braun, 21, of Terre Haute, holding a sign reading "Bye Bye Baby Killer, was among those demonstrating in support of the execution.
"I'm here to make sure the survivors are remembered. It has nothing to do with McVeigh, Braun said. "The kids could have grown up and made a difference in this world and they weren't even given a chance.
A couple from Oklahoma City, Jon Prough, 29, and his wife, Carrie Prough, 26, drove 10 hours to be in Terre Haute for the execution of the man who blew up the Alfred P.
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