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43 Seized in Contra Aid Protest at Wilson Office

February 02, 1988|FREDERICK M. MUIR | Times Staff Writer

Forty-three people protesting U.S. aid to Contra insurgents in Nicaragua were arrested at the Los Angeles office of U.S. Sen. Pete Wilson Monday morning and booked on suspicion of trespassing, officials said.

Demonstrators with the Pledge of Resistance had been warned that they would be arrested if they did not leave the office, said Sgt. Jim Wakefield of the Los Angeles Police Department. Those who refused to leave were taken into custody and bused from the scene. More than two dozen other protesters demonstrated legally in front of the high-rise office building on Santa Monica Boulevard, Wakefield said.

The placard-carrying protesters objected to Wilson's consistent support of aid to the rebel forces and his vow to vote for continued funding of the armed revolt. The Pledge of Resistance said it was protesting Wilson's "arrogant refusal to listen to his constituents," who, they said recent polls show, are opposed to Contra aid.

Mike Wootton, chief of Wilson's three Southern California offices, said there was "nothing new" in the demonstrators' arguments. He said that Wilson would vote for a proposed $36.2-million Contra aid package later this week.

Wootton had agreed to meet with six of the protest leaders when they arrived shortly after 10:30 a.m. After expressing their opposition to Wilson's policies, the group asked to meet with the senator, Wootton said.

When told that he was in Washington and would not be immediately available to talk with them by phone, the leaders said they would refuse to leave, Wootton said.

After a warning, the protesters were taken into custody without incident, according to Wakefield. He said 20 uniformed officers had been called to the scene.

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