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Apology for Bush speech activists

Cindy Sheehan being ejected from the Capitol
Cindy Sheehan was led from the Capitol in handcuffs

Police have apologised to US anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan and the wife of a congressman for ejecting both from the State of the Union speech.

Both women were wearing T-shirts with slogans on - Ms Sheehan's condemning the war in Iraq, and Beverly Young's expressing support for US troops.

They were thrown out of the Capitol during President Bush's address.

Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer asked the US attorney's office to drop charges against Mrs Sheehan.

"The officers made a good faith, but mistaken, effort to enforce an old unwritten interpretation of the prohibitions about demonstrating in the Capitol," Mr Gainer said.

"The policy and procedures were too vague. The failure to adequately prepare the officers is mine."

Bill Young and t-shirt
Mr Young protested about the incident on the House floor

Mrs Sheehan's T-shirt bore the legend "2,245 Dead. How Many More?" in a reference to the number of US troops killed in Iraq.

The mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq, famous for setting up camp in protest outside Mr Bush's Texas ranch, she was arrested before the president's speech late on Tuesday and charged with unlawful conduct.

She had been invited to Congress by a California Democrat.

Despite the apology, Mrs Sheehan said she would file a lawsuit for defamation of character and civil rights violation.

"Why did my son die if his mother can't even wear a T-shirt?" she said.

Mrs Young, wife of Republican representative Bill Young, wore a shirt that read "Support the Troops: Defending Our Freedom".

Mr Young said she was ordered out of the House of Representatives gallery for being a "protester".

"She... was doing... what the president said we should all do," he said.

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