Five arrested in protest at Sarbanes' office 5 opposing the war in El Salvador refused to leave Sarbanes' office.

July 16, 1991|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Evening Sun Staff Richard Irwin contributed to this story.

Three men and two women protesters have been arrested for refusing to leave Sen. Paul Sarbanes' downtown office.

The protesters were there to attempt to pressure the Maryland senator into co-sponsoring a bill that would end U.S. military aid to El Salvador.

The five were arrested shortly before 9 o'clock last night in the George H. Fallon Federal Building about two hours after they refused to leave the office. All were charged with trespassing.

The men were held overnight at the Central District lockup and the women at the Women's Detention Center pending bail hearings today before a District Court commissioner, police said.

OC Charged were: Michael Bardoff, 38, of the 2900 block of Markley

Ave.; Michelle Naar, 35, of the 7900 block of Liberty Road in Rockdale; Carol McKusick, 37, of the 1400 block of Light St.; Max Obuszewski, 31, of the 300 block of E. 25th St.; and Greg Boertje, 36, of the 1900 block of Park Ave.

Bruce Frame, the senator's press secretary, said Sarbanes doesn't co-sponsor a lot of bills and in the past has supported unsuccessful legislation aimed to reduce U.S. military aid to El Salvador.

"He just hasn't taken a position on this piece of legislation yet," Frame said, referring to a bill sponsored by Sen. Brock Adams, D-Wash.

Sarbanes was in Washington attending a meeting and was unavailable, Frame said.

Yesterday's sit-in was the second at Sarbanes' office, Frame said. The other sit-in occurred when a political opponent refused to leave.

The protesters and Frame said Sarbanes does support a similar, but weaker bill, sponsored by Sen. Christopher H. Dodd, D-Conn., that would cut in half the military aid to the war-ravaged country.

The group said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., is a co-sponsor of the Adams bill.

Fifteen protesters arrived at Sarbanes' office shortly after 3 p.m., sat in the senator's 15th-floor office and held a conference call with a senior staff member about the legislation, Frame said. They were from the Baltimore Emergency Response Network and Jonah House. The network is part of the national non-violent Pledge of Resistance that opposes U.S. intervention in Central America. Jonah House, in Reservoir Hill, is the non-violent community founded by Elizabeth McAlister and Philip Berrigan, veteran anti-war activists.

At 7 p.m., the building officially closed and the protesters refused to leave. Authorities were called.

Jeff Colledge, 36, a member of response network, said the purpose of the protest was "to pressure" Sarbanes into co-sponsoring the Adams bill and "to take a stronger leadership in the whole process."

Colledge and other protesters said they aren't against Sarbanes supporting the Dodd bill but believe the bill in the Senate is the strongest.

Since the civil war began in El Salvador more than 10 years ago, at least 70,000 people have been killed, many of them children and peasants, the protesters said. Also, the United States has pumped at least $3 billion in military aid to support the fighting, they said, which includes the murders of six Jesuit priests.

The protesters said they believe the United States must show the Salvadoran military it doesn't have U.S. support in order to begin negotiations to end human rights violations there.

Colledge said he wasn't willing to get arrested last night because the Salvadoran government now won't grant him a visa.

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