16 WNYERS ARRESTED AT ATLANTA RALLY - The Buffalo News

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16 WNYERS ARRESTED AT ATLANTA RALLY

At least 16 Western New York residents were arrested and jailed overnight in Atlanta as a result of the anti-abortion rally, according to local abortion foes who are there.

The local organizers today also were crying foul because of the police tactics used in the arrests.

"I witnessed police brutality like I've never seen in my life," Nancy Walker of Connection Drive in Clarence said today from her Atlanta hotel. "I can't believe this is America."

"People were screaming out in pain," she said.

At least one clergyman from the Midwest was hospitalized overnight with a broken jaw, according to Mrs. Walker. None of the Western New Yorkers arrested was injured seriously, she said.

The 16 were part of a contingent of 40 residents who made the trip to Atlanta. That group included 15 clergymen and 25 lay people, according to Paulette Likoudis.

Some of the Buffalo area people who were arrested, including Mrs. Walker's son, Mark Sterlace, were booked as "Baby John Doe" or "Baby Jane Doe."

Mrs. Walker's list of other local people arrested included: the Rev. Darren Dryzmala, the Rev. Fred Naedle, the Rev. Van Gayton, Jamie Smith, David Caputo, Cindy Hermanson, Bonnie Behn, Scott Chadsey.

Also Don Jory, Mark Anderson, Richard Rosenthal, Jeff Dell, Becky Schenck, Tim Longwith and Sam Ciffa.

Mrs. Walker said she saw police officers throwing protesters to the ground, stepping on heads, dragging people, twisting their arms to get up, breaking some people's glasses and tying some protesters' hands behind their backs with wire.

Most of the Buffalo-area residents who were arrested were protesting at the SurgiCenter abortion clinic, one of three sites targeted by Operation Rescue. Mrs. Walker said they were singing "Amazing Grace" when they were arrested.

Mrs. Walker, who said she was jailed in Atlanta for 18 days in August, claimed that the Buffalo-area people jailed overnight had their Bibles taken away from them.

"They're not being allowed to sing together or pray together," she added.

Referring to the uncertain treatment that protesters receive from police and the courts, Mrs. Likoudis said, "The universal spirit of the rescue (operation) is to accept the chance to be placed in the same helpless position as the unborn."

Protesters crawled on their hands and knees as the ultimate act of humility, even more passive than the act of walking, she added.

Hearings were scheduled today for the people who were arrested.

The local contingent planned further protests today.

Asked how long she and other Buffalo-area residents planned to stay, Mrs. Walker replied, "Until the Lord tells us to go home."

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