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100 Arrested in Protests at Nevada Test Site, El Toro

January 28, 1987|STEVE EMMONS | Times Staff Writer

More than 100 protesters were arrested Tuesday in separate demonstrations at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Orange County and at the Nevada Test Site, where underground nuclear tests are conducted.

Among the 72 arrested in Nevada on the 36th anniversary of the first nuclear test at the site was actor Martin Sheen, who was accused of threatening to commit a crime. He had told the media that he would be a protester.

The forty demonstrators arrested in El Toro blocked gates to the base to protest an annual military-industrial weapons conference beginning there. They were arrested by local and federal officers.

Annual Event

Similar protests have been staged each year since 1983 against the Winter Conference on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, also known as Wincon. The theme of the conference this year is "Finding the Threat," an examination of surveillance and targeting methods and equipment.

The arrests, which had been coordinated by the Orange County Sheriff's Department and demonstration leaders, were peaceful. Demonstrators stood in the entrance lanes to three of the base gates, were arrested and were immediately replaced by other demonstrators.

A sheriff's spokesman said deputies arrested 34 people for blocking a public roadway, a misdemeanor. All were cited and released, he said.

Trespassing Charges

A spokeswoman for the Marine base said six more demonstrators were arrested by military police for trespassing.

Alliance for Survival, the organizer of the demonstration, plans further protests as the conference continues through Thursday.

In Nevada, some of the estimated 250 protesters kneeled in small groups on the road trying to block vehicles loaded with workers from entering the classified government facility in the desert.

Tried to Climb Fence

Guards on motorcycles chased away at least half a dozen demonstrators trying to scale a test-site fence. Valerie Schloresky of California poured a vial of what she said was her own blood on the asphalt road and shouted, "This is the blood of our future."

Sheriff's deputies took Sheen into custody on a state warrant before the demonstration began. The actor later appeared before a justice of the peace in Beatty, a small community about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, and was released on his promise to pay a $5,000 bond within 48 hours.

In Washington, about 50 protesters, including Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame, braved freezing temperatures to march in nearly two-foot snow outside the Department of Energy Building.

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