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Dixie Chicks Face One Florida Protester

05/05/2003 01:00AM

Scattered protests continued on the Dixie Chicks' American concert tour, which kicked off in Greenville, S.C., Thursday night with about 15 picketers in the parking lot.

In Orlando Saturday night, there was a single protester outside the concert hall, the Associated Press reports. Inside, the Chicks were cheered by a sold-out crowd.

The show marked the first visit to Florida by the Texas trio, who've been in the doghouse since singer Natalie Maines told a London audience on March 10 -- prior to America and Britain's war with Iraq -- that she was ashamed to be from the same state as President Bush.

A furor ensued, and she later apologized, but not before radio stations staged boycotts and sales of the Chicks' CD "Home" slipped.

On Saturday, concertgoers said they gave no thought about Maines's words.

But Texas native Thomas Newton stood at an intersection near the TD Waterhouse Centre wearing a cowboy outfit and holding a sign that read: "I Am Ashamed The Dixie Chicks Are From Texas."

Inside the concert hall, Patty Smith, of Palm Harbor, Fla., admitted that she had debated for a week whether to take her 13-year-old daughter to the concert because of the singer's statement.

In the end, Smith decided she'd take her daughter -- but also wear a T-shirt with the slogan, "Chicks Music Not Their Politics!"

She also wore a button showing Presidents George and George W. Bush.

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