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Author Alice Walker, 32 Others Arrested At Naval Weapons Protest

June 13, 1987

CONCORD, Calif. (AP) _ About 300 people demonstrated in front of the Concord Naval Weapons Station on Friday, and 33 protesters were arrested, including author Alice Walker, police said.

The Oakland-based advocacy group Pledge of Resistance sponsored the demonstration to protest alleged weapons shipments to El Salvador. Weapons station spokesman Dan Tilaksy said he could neither confirm nor deny whether the facility ships arms to Central America.

Most protesters were arrested for trespassing, said Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Lt. Robert Henderson.

According to group spokesman Stephanie Troyan, Walker, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning book ″The Color Purple,″ had said before her arrest, ″I am here because I can’t stand it. I can’t stand that the money I pay in taxes goes to kill people.″

Henderson said the Navy property begins just outside a surrounding fence and was clearly marked with a yellow line. ″In most cases, they went through a line of officers and crossed that yellow line intentionally,″ he said.

Some protesters were cited and released at the scene and others were taken to the Contra Costa County Detention Facility in nearby Martinez, then released, said Lt. Tom Lambert.

Fourteen who were brought to the jail listed their names as John Doe and authorities planned to detain them overnight, Lambert said.

The naval station made plans to work around the protest and shipments were not disrupted, Henderson said.

A larger demonstration is expected Saturday.

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