130 Anti-Abortion Activists Arrested at Atlanta Clinic

Times Staff Writer

More than 130 hymn-singing anti-abortion activists were arrested by police Tuesday as they staged a demonstration at a medical clinic near downtown Atlanta on the second day of the Democratic National Convention.

The protesters, members of a group known as Operation Rescue, had blocked the steps to the entrance of the clinic with their bodies and were singing hymns when the police moved in at about 7 a.m. after a complaint from the clinic.

The demonstrators were taken to the city’s Lakewood Fairgrounds, where buildings are being used by officials to process and house people arrested during the convention. Charges against the 134 anti-abortionists included criminal trespassing, unlawful assembly and interfering with police officers, authorities said.


Day of Demonstrations

The anti-abortion protest opened a day of demonstrations and actions by activists of almost every stripe who are eager to gain the attention of the more than 4,000 delegates and 15,000 journalists in Atlanta for the four-day convention.

Supporters of Tawana Brawley, the black New York teen-ager who is involved in a controversial case of alleged rape by whites, scuffled with police and sheriff’s deputies as they tried to barge into a closed meeting of the New York delegation at a downtown hotel.

No one apparently was injured and there were no arrests.

At the official convention protest site across the street from the convention complex, a mock trial by a group known as Public Advocates of the U.S. found House Speaker Jim Wright guilty of ethics violations. Other groups slated to speak at the site included the American Indian Movement, the Palestine Solidarity Committee and No Business as Usual, a loosely knit group of activists who say they are trying to prevent World War III.

In the wake of confrontations between rival demonstrators earlier this week, Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young vowed to increase police presence at demonstration sites. But a City Hall spokesman, Tom Weyandt, said that overall, protesters have been “fairly orderly.”