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Friday, 18 May, 2001, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Protesters target Sheen
Martin Sheen and cast of The West Wing
Sheen (fourth from left) with the cast of The West Wing
Actor Martin Sheen was met by demonstrators as he arrived at an award ceremony in Philadelphia.

Sheen, currently appearing in US TV hit The West Wing, has taken up the cause of death row convict Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of shooting a Philadelphia policeman in 1981.

I'm never bothered by demonstrators - I've been one myself

Martin Sheen
The demonstrators, supporters of the late Officer Daniel Faulkner, tried to disrupt Sheen's arrival in the city to pick up an award.

The Philadelphia Immigration Resource Center, which provides support for new immigrants, was honouring Sheen for his work on behalf of immigrants' rights.

News of the protest appeared to have a financial impact on Wednesday's fund-raising dinner, which had sold only about 400 tickets, a considerable drop from the 600 tickets sold at the previous year's dinner.


"I'm never bothered by demonstrators - I've been one myself," said Sheen.

The actor has been arrested 70 times for his involvement in protests for issues such as nuclear disarmament and homelessness.

Sheen's TV series West Wing - in which he plays the US President - finished on Wednesday night with beleaguered President Josiah Bartlet lashing out at God for his misfortune.

President Bartlett also appeared to have decided not to run for the office again but the rest of the episode left doubt about his intentions - leaving another TV cliffhanger for viewers to ponder this summer.

The series won a record nine Emmys during its first season last year, including the coveted best-drama award.

It has been one of NBC's highest-rated programmes and a consistent favourite of US critics.

In the UK, it has been shown on Channel 4, where it was a hit with critics.

But station executives moved the show out of its peak-time slot after just a handful of episodes.

See also:

13 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Sheen slates 'bad comic' Bush
25 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Sheen attacks Hollywood 'sleaze'
28 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Sheen off probation early
28 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Sheen's drug rehab praised
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