MDA Protest

I'm disturbed to see that the Associated Press story you ran (Sept. 8) inaccurately describes the activity that took place outside the KTLA-TV studios in Los Angeles in protest of our telethon.

By relying on information gathered from only one side, the story fails to portray the aggressive behavior of a few of the protesters, while creating a false impression that their actions were met with physical force by MDA supporters. In fact, the opposite is true. A report by one of the security officers hired for the telethon describes several demonstrators as "very boisterous and aggressive in preventing the ingress and egress of persons attending the MDA Telethon" by blocking the TV station's gates and street traffic with their wheelchairs. This report concludes, "At no time was the staff of KTLA or members and volunteers of the MDA aggressive or rude to the protesters."

According to the AP story, demonstrators "claimed" they were "attacked by a group of telethon supporters who knocked a disabled woman from her wheelchair." This simply didn't happen.

The statement that "punches were thrown" when protesters tried to hand flyers to the members of the San Fernando Valley Executive Harley Davidson Club, a group of MDA supporters, is inaccurate. Our representative, who witnessed the encounter, reports, "I am 100 percent certain that there were no punches thrown and no one was physically struck in any way."

The facts of this incident are: When three members of the club arrived at KTLA to make their donations to MDA, the protesters agreed to let them enter the main gate on Van Ness Avenue without interference. However, the security report states, as the MDA volunteers drove through, "protesters began to hit the windshields of the motorcycles and place their wheelchairs directly in front of the cyclists."

About an hour later, as the three motorcyclists attempted to leave through the main gate, a protester began screaming epithets at them. One of the cyclists approached this man on foot, but our representative stepped between them and was soon joined by a security guard. The confrontation was entirely verbal.

ROBERT ROSS

Senior Vice President-Executive Director

Muscular Dystrophy Assn., Tucson

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