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128 Arrested for Protesting Cape Canaveral Launching

Associated Press

More than 100 protesters, including pediatrician and peace activist Benjamin Spock, were arrested Saturday when they scrambled over a fence at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as thousands of peace activists protested the launching of a Trident 2 missile.

Spock, 83, brought a cheer from the crowd of at least 4,000 as he hoisted himself over the fence and dropped to the ground. Dozens of other protesters jumped the fence and others went around it.

Spock and his wife, Mary Morgan, were among 128 protesters arrested and charged with misdemeanor counts of trespassing, sheriff’s department spokeswoman Joan Heller said.

Those arrested were bused to the Brevard County Jail, where they were held under canopies set up in the jail yard.

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“It’s a good cause, a very good cause,” Spock said, peering from a window in the prisoners’ bus.

The demonstrators marched on the air station to protest nuclear proliferation and the test launch Thursday of the Trident 2.

“Cape Canaveral means something special to the American people so it’s good to be making our protest here,” Spock said of the home of America’s space program. “They’ll immediately understand the connection here.”

The peace marchers gathered at the entrance of Port Canaveral to make the three-mile march to the gate of the Air Force station and participate in civil disobedience.

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“I’d like to see my grandchildren grow up and for their children not to have to face this stuff,” said Bert Blankenship, 63, wearing a straw hat with a hatband that said: “I’m a grandma for peace.”

About 125 counterdemonstrators had tried to stand in the way of the activists, but were outnumbered. No violence was reported.

“Hundreds of people called me and told me they felt the same way and they would come out here and show the world how we felt,” said David Kraak, a counterprotester calling for “peace through strength.”

An Amtrak train that rally organizers dubbed the “Peace Train” brought more than 100 protesters to the rally. Buses brought hundreds of others.

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About 200 protesters ended a monthlong, 217-mile peace march Friday that started in St. Marys, Ga., where the submarines will be based that will carry the Trident 2 missiles.


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