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Three More Taken Into Custody at Westinghouse

March 26, 1985

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A promised two weeks of ″non-violent civil disobedience″ against the Westinghouse Electric Corp. has begun with five protesters being taken into police custody at the company’s headquarters.

Three protesters, including a Catholic priest, were taken away today during a demonstration organized by the River City Non-Violent Resistance Campaign, a small group which opposes Westinghouse participation in defense contracts involving nuclear weapons.

The three were removed after they refused to obey orders by security guards and police to leave the lobby of the downtown Westinghouse building.

Two protesters were arrested Monday as they demonstrated against nuclear weapons and the apartheid government of South Africa. They were charged with defiant trespass and released, police said.

″We weren’t glad they were arrested. But we were glad to make the statement,″ campaign spokesman Todd May, 29, of Pittsburgh, said after Monday’s arrests.

The two arrested Monday, Mel Packer and Leah Blumenfeld, both members of Pittsburghers Against Apartheid, entered the building’s lobby about noon and unfurled a banner protesting Westinghouse’s dealings with South African uranimum producers and its manufacture of nuclear weapons.

As about 14 supporters waited outside singing anti-war songs, the couple stood for about 15 minutes talking with reporters and chanting, ″No business with South Africa″ and ″Get Johannesburg out of Pittsburgh.″

May said protesters had been talking with Westinghouse officials for about two years without changing the corporation’s business policies.

″We needed a more intensive effort. We needed to be serious,″ May said.

May said Westinghouse had $1.7 billion in defense contracts in 1983. Westinghouse spokesman Ron Hart declined to confirm the figure, saying the corporation does not publicly ″break out″ its defense business.

″We understand their concerns,″ Hart said, ″but we believe it’s the responsibility of elected officials to decide what’s appropriate for national defense. Westinghouse, as an American corporation, has a responsibity to provide the best quality products we can.″

May said Westinghouse officials were told by the group to expect several days of ″non-violent, non-destructive, non-abusive civil disobedience″ at the company’s headquarters building.

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