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By Timothy M. Phelps, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Eric H. Holder Jr. is a traveling attorney general, with a penchant for trips around the country and the world to give speeches or inspect offices.

But Thursday he canceled a planned speech in Oklahoma City at the 130th Police Academy graduation ceremony, after local Republicans announced that they planned to bring out “hundreds” of protesters.

Oklahoma gun rights activists, citing the bungled “Fast and Furious” scheme to catch gun traffickers, and a conservative state representative called the invitation to Holder an outrage.

The Justice Department said Holder was forced to cancel the speech because a meeting in Washington ran late, though he did go to Oklahoma City to visit the U.S. attorney’s office there. It did not immediately address questions about whether the protest was a factor.

There may have been security concerns about the appearance. A libertarian website, Liberty Voice, said Wednesday that “Eric Holder may want some extra security on his visit to Oklahoma City,” citing the planned protests.

Protesters said they would turn out anyway despite the attorney general’s absence.

AFP Photo/Al Seib

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