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Members of the radical November Action Coalition (NAC) clashed early yesterday morning with several hundred riot-equipped police in the narrow street outside M. I. T.'s Instrumentation Laboratory, but there was only one arrest.
The 375 chanting demonstrators set up an obstructive picket line outside the five entrances to 1-Lab 5 and its parking lot gates shortly after 7 a. m. Pickets marched in pairs, arms linked, in a rapidly moving circle outside each entrance.
Police-750 were on call, with between 200 and 300 actually participating in the dispersal-began marching toward the picketers at 9 a. m. equipped with clubs, rifles, tear gas, and dogs. All demonstrators were out of the area within half an hour.
No Serious Injuries
Fifteen demonstrators were reported injured, none seriously.
Yesterday's protest was part of a five-day action against war-related research planned by the NAC, a coalition of about 25 Boston-area radical groups. Plans for today include a mass rally at noon with M. I. T.'s Science Action Coordinating Committee (SACC) at Kresge Plaza.
Yesterday's action began at 6:10 a. m. in the M. I. T. Student Center when the tactics committee announced its decision to definitely center on 1-Lab no. 5-at 15 Osborn St.-where the principal research on the MIRV missile system is conducted.
The demonstrators were divided into three aflinity groups. The largest-including M. I. T.'s Rosa Luxemburg SDS and the 32 Weathermen-were to picket the main entrance, and two smaller groups to block the parking lot gates.
The 70-member Harvard-Radcliffe contingent guarded the Osborn St. parking lot gate.
Marching in cadres out of the student center at 6:50 a. m. and through a heavy rain to the lab two blocks away, the demonstrators chanted "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh" and "Power to the people," and carried NLF flags.
On the roof of the Instrumentation Lab at least eight policemen and plainclothesmen were stationed with radios. One police officer carried a rifle with a telescopic sight.
Immediately pickets formed at each of the entrances, moving swiftly with arms linked. Inside the building, about ten people-the I-Labs are open 24 hours a day an shifts change at 8 a. m.-could be seen in the doorway watching picketers through metal mesh window guards.
Three research workers in the I-Labs attempted to break through the picket lines individually around 7:45 a. m. but were jostled and shoved back by the demonstrators. One had to be pulled back by a friend and retreated across Albany St. to stand with other employees waiting for police to clear the pickets.
At about 8 a. m. an M. I. T. graduate student-who identified himself as Richard Kline, a member of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF)-suddenly began pushing his way through the picket line, fighting with the demonstrators. He did not break through the line.
Kline told reporters that he was trying to get into the lab to get some data, but later called the attempted entry "my own personal test" of the NAC's "obstructive picket."
At 8:20 a. m. Captain Joseph E. Cusack of the Cambridge Police Dept. read a declaration ordering everyone to clear the area or be subject to a heavy fine or arrest, and affirming his power to ask anyone for assistance in making arrests.
This was the first warning issued to the demonstrators yesterday morning. A subsequent announcement asking all M. I. T. lab personnel, press, and bystanders to leave the area was repeated at nearly regular ten-minute intervals.
At 8:45 a. m. however-when City Solicitor Philip M. Cronin '53 appeared in front of the main entrance-the demonstrators appeared to have completely ignored police warnings.
Cronin and an unidentified man with him attempted to break through the picket line, struggling with demonstrators. Cronin was thrown to the ground in the scuffle, but was unhurt. The other man broke through to the door of the I-Lab, where he was greeted by seven men inside the door, shaking nightsticks and boards at the picketers.
By 9 a. m. all groups of demonstrators had come together in front of the main entrance. Police methodically unloaded their vans a few blocks away on both sides of Osborn St.
Cambridge Mayor Walter J. Sullivan was seen near I-Lab 5 just before police arrived.
At a press conference later yesterday afternoon Paul E. Gray, associate provost of M. I. T., explained that it was the City of Cambridge and not M. I. T. which sent the police into action when the pickets were deemed to be unlawfully assembled.
Although M. I. T. owns the I-Labs they are not on its property and it is uncertain whether or not the court injunction obtained against the NAC Monday is applicable to the labs.
With the police drawn in formation just 40 feet away from the pickets M. I. T. faculty members-including Stephen L. Chorover, associate professor of Psychology, and Jerome Lettvin, professor of Biology and Electrical Engineering-made a futile effort to convince the demonstrators to disband.
"You've won the victory, you've closed the labs, there's no need for more blood, for God's sake, "Lettvin said, tears rolling down his cheeks. But the protestors continued chanting "MIRV goes first" while he spoke. "My God, they won't listen." Lettvin said.
Just before police started moving down Osborn St.-marching and chanting in cadence-someone inside the building turned a firehouse on demonstrators outside the main door.
Police carried both rifles with telescopic sights and tear-gas shotguns near the back of their formations, and all carried gas masks around their waists. The Cambridge police and the Boston Tactical Squad handled most of the actual dispersal, pushing demonstrators back up Osborn St. to State St. and then onto Mass Ave.
Cambridge police, wearing black helmets and carrying their nightsticks in both hands across their chests, kept in formation and did not charge the crowd. But some members of the Boston Tactical Squad, wearing baby-blue helmets, appeared to go out of control at the rear of the line and randomly clubbed retreating demonstrators.
At one point an unidentified officer broke ranks and attacked a picketer until he was forcibly restrained by his sergeant.
The 170 state police present, in bright orange raincoats, were not deployed until the end of the action.
Gray explained at the press conference that police were ordered to march with their clubs held fast across their chests and not to swing them needlessly.
Along State St. after turning off Osborn St., demonstrators tripped one police officer who got ahead of his formation. This lead to a brief scuffle in which some NAC members threw rocks at police as they charged the crowd, injuring one girl with cuts on the head.
Of the 15 later reported injured, three were treated in Cambridge City hospital, five in the M. I. T. infirmary, two in Mt. Auburn hospital, and five at the NAC medical center. All injuries were minor, including the one girl injured in an auto accident during the demonstration, who was apparently pushed against a car.
Police chased a band of demonstrators into the industrial sector of Cambridge south of Mass Ave., but left them to wander back to the M. I. T. student center.
Cronin said that seven arrests had been made, but according to Cambridge police there was only one-an M. I. T., student identified as Allan Fuchs who was charged with unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct and brought before the East Cambridge Court. He was released on $1000 bail for a later hearing.
At his afternoon press conference, Gray called the police performance a "disciplined action." He said that as yet no names of M. I. T. students had been taken down for possible school discipline.
Gray added that both the Center for International Studies (CIS) and the administrative offices-targets of Tuesday's protests-were operating normally with the exception of President Howard W. Johnson's office which was not occupied "because the president had moved elsewhere on the campus." He refused to say where.
The militant picket line was the least militant action discussed at an all-night NAC meeting Tuesday night, and the only proposal to pass when a vote was taken at 3:25 a. m.
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