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Protesters Splashing Blood Disrupt Pro-Contra News Conference With AM-Contra Aid Bjt

February 4, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Protesters throwing what they said was human blood on Thursday disrupted a news conference announcing efforts to build private U.S. support for Nicaraguan rebels.

″It’s the blood of the Nicaraguan people that you’re spilling,″ shouted a protester who identified herself as Dale Ashera-Davis of Baltimore, Md., as she splashed red liquid on the carpet, curtains and flag of a room at the National Press Club where the news conference was held.

Some of the handful of protesters, who had positioned themselves among reporters and photographers in the room, said they were from the National Pledge of Resistance. The organization tried to disrupt debate on Contra aid from the House galleries Wednesday and had staged a protest during congressional hearings on the Iran-Contra affair last summer.

″Very well done. You’re a nice lady. Thank you for coming,″ said Robert Grant, president of the American Freedom Coalition which was holding the new conference, as security guards ushered the protesters out of the room. There were no arrests.

Another protester, Lisa Fithian of Washington, said outside the press club building that the demonstrators represent peace groups opposed to U.S. support for wars in Central America. ″We believe the will of the American people was expressed yesterday by Congress,″ she said.

Grant said the protest demonstrated the kind of freedom that does not exist under President Ortega’s Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

He said the Contra aid bill, defeated 219-211, was killed by ″a slight majority of Oretga stooges.″

Grant said his coalition, which claims 300,000 members across the United States, would use TV ads, letter-writing campaigns and ″local grassroots events in all 50 states″ to let people know which members of Congress ″are willing to let communism go unchecked.″

He said House Majority Leader Jim Wright, D-Texas, and other Contra aid opponents should add to their resumes that they ″achieved the goal of making the world a little safer for communism than it was 48 hours ago.″

L. Francis Bouchey, president of Council for Inter-American Security, was reading a letter to Contra leaders when the protesters interrupted.

The letter said Bouchey’s group was committed to supporting an effort to sell bonds in support of the Contras.

Peter Flaherty, chairman of Citizens for Reagan, said his conservative campaign organization also endorses the bond effort. He said he supported the idea of having President Reagan involved in the private fund-raising efforts and in soliciting aid from other countries to sustain the resistance.

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