About 30 students staged a "die-in" in front of TWA's ticket desk at Logan International Airport early yesterday evening, while more than 100 other students stood by. The group-which filled the central area of TWA's lobby-was protesting government construction of the SST, a supersonic speed passenger transport which will join airline fleets in the mid-'70's.
Many of the demonstrators at Logan came to the airport directly from an afternoon "Earth Day" rally at Government Center.
The federal government is building the SST for the airlines. A leaflet, printed by the New England Ecology Coalition and circulated at the airport, warned that the plane may endanger the earth by damaging the atmosphere. The SST will fly at high levels where the air is not self-cleaning.
The airport demonstration broke up 15 minutes after it began when State Police entered the lobby and forced the demonstrators out. Thirteen demonstrators-none of them Harvard students-were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing.
The demonstration officially began at 6 p.m., when members of the Boston Area Ecology Coalition carried six black makeshift coffins into the lobby, where a crowd of demonstrators had already assembled.
One coffin had the words "Biocide" and the names of several airlines written on it, while another listed the names of several Southeast Asian countries under the word "Genocide."
The coffins were placed in the middle of the lobby, and a demonstrator climbed into each one, while other students lay prone on the floor nearby. Many of the demonstrators were wearing gauze face-masks.
At 6:15. John W. Birch, director of Aviation at Logan, walkel to the TWA ticket counter and began speaking over a megaphone. When demonstrators started coughing so that he could notbe heard, he handed the megaphone to Robert T. Berger of the State Police.
Berger read a written warning, ordering the demonstrators to disperse. He said that the demonstrators were participants in an unlawful assembly and were subject to immediate arrest.
About one minute later, a group of State Policemen entered through a nearby door. Demonstrators then began carrying the coffins toward the ends of the lobby, but the police immediately started pushing the crowd through a door to the outside, near the one through which they entered.
Some of the demonstrators, who had begun moving voluntarily when the police entered, pushed back at the police who were now shoving them. Though the police did not use the clubs they carried, they grabbed at the coats and arms of demonstrators as they pushed them out the door. One protestor was dragged 20 feet by his hair.
The 13 people arrested were released on bail. They will be arraigned at 9 a.m. today in the Seventh District Court.
At the rally at Government Center. Rep. Michael J. Harrington (D-Mass.) said that there is "very little concern for hard fates and funded programs" among those public officials who talk about protecting the environment. A "sustained commitment" is necessary, if the environment is to be restored, he said.
The crowd cheered Harrington when he announced that he was bringing suit against all industrial water polluters in Massa chusetts, under an 1899 statute which provides for fines of $2500 for anyone dumping waste into waterways.
A Coalition speaker announced during the rally that the Coalition would present a list of 29 "survival demands" to representatives of Governor Sargent and Boston's Mayor White later in the afternoon.
A halt to airport expansion and restrictions on airport noise levels, reconsideration of a number of highway construction plans, free and legal abortion and birth control information, and a ban on gasoline containing lead beginning in 1971 were among the steps demanded by the Coalition.