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BOSTON--As American forces in the Persian Gulf made their final preparations for war, police arrested about 65 anti-war protesters yesterday morning, including six Harvard students, as they blocked major intersections around the city and vowed to prevent "business as usual" in Boston.
Robyn Fass '91, Heather K. Love '91, and Elizabeth C. Willauer '92 were charged with failure to obey a police officer. Peter J. karafiol '92, Michael Rosefeld '92, and Peter Yeomans '91 were charged with disorderly conduct.
All six students were released without bail from Charlestown District Court this afternoon. The court ordered the protesters to refrain from being arrested again before their cases are heard.
Love said she planned to devote "all her time" to anti-war activism.
"If there's nothing visible, the atmosphere of crisis is lost," Love said.
Fass said she wanted to stop people from doing the usual things on the eve of war. While fighting is going on thousands of miles away, Americans shouldn't just "go to work, go to school, get their nails done and go home and watch TV," she said.
Just after 7 a.m., demonstrators obstructed traffic on Storrow Drive, a highway which runs along the north side of the Charles River. Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) police arrested about 20 protesters, quickly clearing the way for rushhour commuters.
As those activists were being taken away, another group formed at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Federal Building near Government Center.
Chanting, "Rich man's war, poor people's blood," nearly 100 people picketed along Cambridge St. in front of the government offices. As some in the group organized civil disobedience, 28 uniformed Boston police officers mounted on Harley-Davidson motorcycles arrived in formation.
At about 8 a.m., about 30 protesters sat down in side entrance to the JFK Building. They struggled briefly with police and soon formed a line directly across the doors. Police seemed intent on waiting the group out, but one man who was not in the initial line was arrested after he tried to join the other protesters.
After an hour at the government building, the sit-in participants and their supporters moved to the intersection of Court St. and Cambridge St., where they spread out across the roadway.
Among the traffic stuck behind the protesters was an oil truck from a Texaco dealer, White Oil of Boston. The Truck's driver, angry about the delay and apparently irritated by the activsts' cries of, "Hell no, we won't go! We won't fight for Texaco," urged the Boston police officers to arrest the crowd.
Police refused the driver's request, but spent about 15 minutes erecting barricades and rerouting traffic.
Just as police appeared ready to arrest the demonstrators, they moved on to an intersection in front of the Old State House. When the group formed a human chain there, Police again rerouted traffic. There, the protesters sang "Happy Birthday" to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Parted Briefly to allow a senior citizens' shuttle to pass.
After about 15 minutes in the downtown intersection, the crowd marched past Fanueil Hall onto North St., Where they blocked a key offramp to the Central Artery. MDC police, clad in riot gear, closed in on the group quickly. Dozens of officers, who had been waiting at the nearby entrance to the Callahan Tunnel, lifted about 40 protesters from the street, handcuffed them with plastic strips and transferred them to waiting police wagons.
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