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Death penalty supporter JJ Jackson
"I'm here to stand up for what's right"
 real 28k

Bud Welch, father of Oklahoma City victim
"We don't have the right to kill him"
 real 28k

Monday, 11 June, 2001, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Protesters gather for death vigils
Anti-death penalty campaigners
Anti-death activists show their opposition
Two groups of death penalty campaigners, both passionate in their beliefs, gathered in Terre Haute to keep vigil as Timothy McVeigh dies.

Some - including supporters of the Oklahoma families - insist that he has to die. Others - also with relatives in their camp - oppose the execution with equal conviction.

There is no closure, there is no end, nothing can bring them back, but the only satisfaction we will have is that Timothy McVeigh will not do this again

Pro-death supporter
JJ Jackson
Among the pro-death penalty campaigners is JJ Jackson, who helped the medical examiner's office with death notifications.

"The survivors and the families have become very dear to me. We can never have justice, but the closest thing is what the law allows, and this is what it allows," Miss Jackson told the BBC.

"I see no reason to pay $1.5m a year to house him on death row when he has admitted he murdered 168 people in cold blood.

"There is no closure, there is no end, nothing can bring them back, but the only satisfaction we will have is that Timothy McVeigh will not do this again."

There's no doubt about Tim McVeigh's guilt - there's just nothing to be gained by killing number 169

Bud Welch, father of victim
Angie Tarter also came out to show her support for the victims and for the death penalty.

"I personally don't want to spend my tax dollars keeping people who have killed other people alive," she said.

But among the relatives who have made the journey to Terre Haute are some in the anti-death penalty camp.

Preparations for protests ahead of McVeigh's execution
Officials set up measures to keep the two factions apart
"I don't see there's anything to be gained by taking Tim McVeigh out of his cage to kill him," said Bud Welch, who lost his 23-year-old daughter Julie-Marie. "He has been rendered harmless where he is."

Mr Welch said relatives who had watched murderers die in other cases had not found the peace they were looking for.

"Tim McVeigh killed 168 people trying to satisfy his rage and vengeance, and it didn't do that.


"That's what we're going to do when we kill him. It will not satisfy the retribution that's still within some of the people from Oklahoma City," he said, speaking on BBC Radio Five Live.

"There's no doubt about Tim McVeigh's guilt. There's just nothing to be gained by killing number 169."

Another protester, Earle Harvey, opposes the death penalty because he doesn┐t think that the government has any more right to kill its citizens than citizens have the right to kill individual citizens.

It was important for him to support the anti-death penalty protest "to be a witness to my beliefs", he said.

He joined a few hundred other anti-death penalty protesters who gathered outside the prison to silently pray and remember the victims of the bombing.

Anti-death penalty campaigner
Anti-death campaigners say all killing is wrong
The Bureau of Prisons has laid careful plans for the rival protests.

A traffic sign flashed directions for demonstrators, telling pro-death penalty protesters to gather at one local park and anti-death penalty activists to gather at another.

Prisons spokesman Jim Cross said two separate areas had been set up on the prison grounds. The pro and anti factions will be 460m (1,500 feet) apart.

"Hopefully, the two groups will never come in contact with one another," said Mr Cross.

Prison officials have added 100 extra security staff ahead of the execution, which will include security at the protest areas, the media area and the prison in general.

Pro-death penalty supporter
Pro-death supporters say McVeigh must pay the ultimate penalty
Kate Burkhart, the coordinator for Amnesty International Death Penalty Abolition project in the US state of Indiana, said protests were also planned in 30 states across the US.

The anti-death protesters in Terre Haute have been hearing speeches, singing and writing to the president urging him to abolish the death penalty.

Their vigil began at 0412 (0912GMT), exactly 168 minutes before Timothy McVeigh is to be executed. Each minute marks a victim of the bombing.

Remember the victims

No pro-death penalty activities were planned, according to a handful of people who gathered at the local park set aside by prison officials.

But the few who were there said they had come to return the focus to the victims, who they thought were beginning to be forgotten.

One local woman turned out "to stand up for the rights of the 168 victims." She added, "We're here to stand up for them. Not for Timothy McVeigh."

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See also:

11 Jun 01 | Americas
McVeigh 'ready to die'
10 Jun 01 | Americas
McVeigh: Countdown to death
04 Jun 01 | Americas
Prosecutors oppose McVeigh delay
31 May 01 | Americas
McVeigh's on-off date with death
16 May 01 | Americas
FBI admits McVeigh blunder
12 Apr 01 | Americas
Live from death row
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