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Scores of Gay Rights Activists Arrested in D.C.

October 13, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Scores of homosexual rights activists, some holding hands and singing, "When the dykes go marching in," streamed past police wearing plastic gloves today and were arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court.

At least 155 protesters were arrested in front of the high court by the helmeted police officers, who wore the gloves to guard against the deadly AIDS virus.

Hundreds of protesters moved to the back of the Supreme Court, which was unguarded. At least 15 ran onto the lawn and were arrested when police arrived there and formed a line.

The first wave of protesters, about two dozen women, held hands and proceeded in single file past police who stood behind a double barricade in front of the Supreme Court.

A second wave of protesters, about 25 men, also held hands and broke a police line of at least 100 officers. Scores more were arrested throughout the morning, and organizers said 600 protesters indicated that they would be arrested.

Streets near the court were closed to traffic soon after an estimated 3,000 demonstrators gathered across the street at the Capitol.

When police put on the plastic gloves, protesters taunted the officers with chants of, "Your gloves don't match your shoes," and, "Only sissies wear gloves." Some protesters mocked the officers by wearing protective gloves of their own.

The demonstrators, upset about a recent court ruling upholding a Georgia sodomy law, also chanted the phrase carved into the front of the Supreme Court, "Equal justice under law" and "Hey, hey, ho, ho, sodomy laws have got to go."

Pink triangles were painted on sidewalks on and around the Supreme Court grounds. Organizers say this symbol was worn by homosexuals under duress in Nazi Germany.

Many of the officers, lined up at the Supreme Court behind a double line of barricades, wore protective gloves and riot helmets.

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