Anti-abortion protest at N.Y. clinic is chaotic Many protesters are arrested outside Buffalo.

April 23, 1992|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

AMHERST, N.Y. -- Sprawled about a parking lot with hands bound tightly behind their backs, arrested Operation Rescue members ignored the jeers and catcalls of the abortion-rights crowd around them.

Dozens of detainees prayed, sang and chatted as police -- some sporting weight-lifting belts for back protection -- hoisted them up a wooden ramp and into school buses commandeered to take them to jail.

But the anti-abortion crowd fell silent as a tow truck drove by hauling their red, white and blue "America For Jesus" bus.

It was by far the most chaotic day of the protest called by Operation Rescue, which protested Monday and Tuesday at Buffalo clinics before moving to suburban, affluent Amherst yesterday.

At about the same time in Washington, the Supreme Court was hearing arguments on an abortion case from Pennsylvania. Several hundred demonstrators there waved placards and chanted outside the court.

Some 190 members of Operation Rescue were arrested as they crawled toward Women's Clinic in Amherst in an attempt to "rescue" women scheduled to obtain abortions.

They did not get far.

Groups of abortion foes, mostly from outside the Buffalo area, arrived at the clinic about 8:30 a.m. and massed across the street from about 250 abortion rights advocates, dozens of police and wooden and wire barricades.

Moments later, they rushed into the street, dropped to their knees and tried to move toward the clinic.

They were charged with obstructing police, resisting arrest or trespassing. A majority refused to give their names to police and will remain in custody for several days. Those who did identify themselves likely will be out again today protesting at another clinic.

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