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30 from area join protest at Capitol

About 30 Western New Yorkers traveled to the Capitol Tuesday to join several thousand others protesting the federal government's treatment of suspects captured in the War on Terror.

"We've got everything from students to parents, professionals and working class folks," said John Curr, the western regional director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which organized the local delegation at the rally.

The local protesters joined the American Civil Liberties Union's Day of Action to Restore Law and Justice, a rally urging Congress to restore habeas corpus -- the Constitution's protection against imprisonment without due process -- and end U.S. policies that allow torture.

The main object of the demonstrators' outrage was the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which strips captured foreign enemy combatants of their habeus corpus right to challenge their imprisonment in U.S. courts.

"We're hoping to get our elected officials to understand that habeas corpus is the cornerstone of our Constitution, and when you pull the cornerstone out of any building it begins to crumble," said Kitty Lambert, a 50-year-old activist from Buffalo.

After the rally ended, the few thousand demonstrators broke up by state and district to lobby their senators and representatives on the issue.

News Washington bureau assistant Andrew Schaefer contributed to this report.


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