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Local News in Brief : Mayor Joins Protest at Nuclear Test Site

December 14, 1987

Irvine Mayor Larry Agran and Laguna Beach Councilwoman Lida Lenney took part in a protest Sunday at a Nevada nuclear test site where 167 anti-nuclear weapons demonstrators were arrested for stepping onto the federal property, authorities said.

While Agran and Lenney were not among those arrested, many elected officials from cities across the nation were taken into custody as they stepped onto Nevada Test Site property near Mercury, Nev., and participated in the reading of a declaration condemning the nuclear arms race.

U.S. Department of Energy spokeswoman Barbara Yoerg said that about 200 protesters arrived at the remote site, and that about 11 a.m. those who wished to be arrested stepped over a cattle crossing that marks the property line. They were arrested by Nye County sheriff's deputies, cited for trespassing and released, she said. The arrests are largely symbolic, because the charges are routinely dropped later.

Agran said the document read by protesters was signed by more than 700 elected officials from around the country.

In a telephone interview Sunday, Agran said his and Lenney's participation was a "statement of conscience"--not something to get them arrested. But at least seven of the 20 other elected officials demonstrating were arrested, he said. Many of them had been in nearby Las Vegas attending the annual National League of Cities meeting.

"We want to make clear that there is a new constituency of locally elected officials coming forward to demand that they and the residents of their cities be heard," Agran said, adding that their message is that "it is imperative that the arms race be ended by ending nuclear weapons testing."

Agran is the executive director of the Irvine-based Local Elected Officials Project, an organization of mayors and city council members who oppose nuclear arms testing.

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