Seven who protest against NATO action arrested at air show

May 16, 1999|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Seven protesters were arrested and detained for several hours yesterday at the 41st annual air show at Andrews Air Force Base after demonstrating against NATO airstrikes.

Police said they detained the protesters -- four of them from Baltimore -- when they tried to climb onto a B-2 bomber to hold up a sign. Elizabeth McAlister, 59, of Baltimore said that she and the other six were peacefully demonstrating against NATO airstrikes in Yugoslavia and the U.S. military force in Iraq when they were arrested and charged with trespassing and failing to obey orders.

"Our expectation was that we'd be escorted off of the base, not arrested," McAlister said last night. "No one gave us a warning or told us that what we were doing was illegal."

McAlister's husband, Philip Berrigan, was among those arrested yesterday. He has gone to prison 60 or 70 times in the three decades since he was arrested for pouring blood on draft records at the Baltimore Customs House, in one of the first anti-war protests of the Vietnam era. He burned draft records in 1968 as one of the Catonsville Nine.

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