Just days before the Fourth of July, disgruntled (okay, livid) citizens will have the opportunity to practice their own kind of patriotism just 100 yards from the Bush compound in Kennebunkport.

When the president and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin descend on the small town for a meeting on July 1, thousands of protesters are expected to be on hand to demand the withdrawal of American troops in Iraq, the closure of permanent bases in that country, and the impeachment of George W. Bush and vice president Dick Cheney.

As soon as organizer Jamilla El-Shafei — who also put together last August’s Kennebunkport protest — heard that Bush and Putin were coming, she pounced, applying for assembly and march permits. Now, just a couple of weeks later, she’s anticipating thousands of protesters (some of whom she’ll allow to camp out at her house), most of them from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, but some coming from as far away as Madison, Wisconsin.

Scheduled speakers at the pre-march rally are: Elisabeth Kucinich (Dennis’s wife); David Swanson, co-founder of the impeach-Bush site AfterDowningStreet.org; Melida and Carlos Arredondo of Gold Star Families, whose son Alex died in Iraq in 2005; and John Kaminski, president of the Maine Lawyers for Democracy.

For some, there’s no better way to celebrate Independence Day.

Parking in Kennebunkport will be extremely limited. Organizers will be running shuttle buses between Kennebunk High School on Fletcher Street and the rally site at Kennebunkport’s Village Green. For more information visitwww.maineimpeach.org.

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