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Protesters Arrested Near Navy Depot After Maiming

September 04, 1987|DAN MORAIN | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — Five anti-war activists were arrested Thursday for blocking a munitions truck from entering the Concord Naval Weapons Station and congressional representatives lashed out at the Navy over the train incident outside the base earlier this week that left a protester maimed.

S. Brian Willson, 45, a Vietnam veteran whose legs were severed on Tuesday when he knelt on railroad tracks just outside the weapons depot in an effort to block munitions shipments to the Nicaraguan contras , received a phone call of support from Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega .

Ortega's wife, Rosario Murillo, planned to visit Willson in the hospital this weekend, according to protest organizers, who said she was granted a visa in Managua on Thursday and will arrive Friday with four of her children.

'Could Have Been Avoided'

"My gut feeling tells me that this (the Willson incident) could have been avoided," Rep. Barbara Boxer (D-San Francisco) said after meeting with the base commander, Capt. Lonnie F. Cagle, and hearing that five train crew members failed to see the 20 to 30 protesters who had clustered on and near the track on Tuesday.

"It stretches my mind beyond belief to think that none of those five people who had that clear responsibility didn't know that there were people on the track," Boxer said, in comments echoed by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco).

"Civil disobedience has a price, but that price should not have to be subjection to deliberate mayhem and attempted murder," Rep. Ron Dellums (D-Oakland) said. And Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez), whose district includes the East Bay base, accused Cagle of "major errors in judgment and major errors in concern for the protesters."

Cagle said the train engineer "was under no orders" to proceed through the demonstrators without stopping.

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