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Protesters Take Over Hotel Lobby

March 9, 2000

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ About 150 people were arrested Wednesday after taking over the lobby of a Hilton hotel to show protest passage of a juvenile-justice ballot measure.

Proposition 21, approved Tuesday by 62 percent to 38 percent, will impose sweeping changes in the juvenile justice system.

A large crowd gathered on the street, then moved to the Hilton where youths gave speeches over bullhorns and loudspeakers.

Robin Templeton, a spokeswoman for the Third Eye Movement, which opposed Proposition 21, said protesters targeted the Hilton because its parent company contributed about $10,000 to help pass the measure.

In the ornate lobby adorned with glass chandeliers and marble, protesters carried signs saying, among other things, ``Education not incarceration.″

About 500 protesters later blocked traffic as they marched toward a BART commuter rail station. Many ended up outside a police station in the Mission district where the arrested protesters were inside.

Among the changes in the measure are allowing prosecutors, rather than judges, to decide whether youths aged 14 to 17 are tried as adults for serious crimes.

Proposition 21 also limits judges’ authority to refer youths to treatment or probation rather than locked facilities after convictions. The measure requires adult prison sentences, in most cases, for 16-year-olds convicted of felonies in adult court.

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