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Leader of NOW Seized in Vatican Embassy Protest

September 09, 1987|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — The new president of the National Organization for Women and one of her aides were arrested Tuesday outside the Vatican Embassy, where they were protesting what they called the Roman Catholic Church's betrayal of women's rights.

Molly Yard and her press secretary, Jeanne K.C. Clark, were handcuffed and placed into a waiting police van after delivering a symbolic "last lunch" to the embassy door and displaying a large banner at the edge of the embassy lawn.

The purple and yellow banner said, "A Message to the Pope: Women's Rights Are Human Rights."

Earlier, at the women's own "last lunch" of fruit, cheese, bread and wine set up in a park two blocks away, Yard said, "The last supper was about betrayal. The last lunch is about betrayal."

Surrounded by about a dozen supporters, she said Pope John Paul II and the U.S. Conference of Bishops had betrayed women's rights by working against civil rights bills, abortion and other reproductive rights and the equal rights amendment.

Meanwhile in San Francisco, the San Francisco Archdiocese and a national gay Catholic group signed a joint statement condemning violence and promoting freedom of speech during the Pope's visit next week.

Gays and lesbians, angry with the Vatican's recent statements reaffirming its traditional view of homosexuality as immoral, have promised protests during the pontiff's visit.

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