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Rally Seeks End to Navy Bombings in Puerto Rico

March 16, 2000

LOS ANGELES — Members of the Puerto Rican Alliance of Los Angeles and other activist groups rallied Wednesday in front of the downtown Federal Building, asking the U.S. Navy to stop military exercises on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Navy has been using Vieques, a small island off the east coast of Puerto Rico for military training since 1941.

The island has a population of 9,500 people.

No bombings have taken place since last April.

At that time, the accidental death of a civilian from a bomb dropped off-target sparked protests, and residents established civil disobedience camps in the impact area.

An accord reached in January between President Clinton and the governor of Puerto Rico will allow the Navy to resume the exercises soon, albeit with inert bombs.

"The Puerto Rican community in Los Angeles is unified in the struggle with the people of Vieques for an end to the bombings, environmental destruction and militarization in Vieques," said Ernesto J. Vigoreaux, founder of the alliance.

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