Gorbachev Plunges into Crowds in St. Paul With AM-Gorbachev, Bjt
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Mikhail Gorbachev threw police for a loop and onlookers into a frenzy Sunday by repeatedly making unscripted plunges into crowds to shake hands and chat.
The Soviet president left his limousine to greet crowds before a luncheon at the governor’s mansion, crossed the street after lunch to the delight of another group and walked the street a third time near the St. Paul Cathedral.
One stop he didn’t make disappointed both admirers and protesters: His motorcade didn’t even slow down during its 45-second trip around the state Capitol, where an estimated 6,000 people had waited seven hours in damp and chilly weather.
Earlier, through an interpreter at one of his impromptu stops, Gorbachev told the crowd: ″Thank you all for your feelings. The Soviet people have just as much respect for American citizens as you do. I wish happiness and well- being to the people of Minnesota and this state.″
Gorbachev smiled broadly and nodded to the crowds, occasionally saying a few words. Supporters’ shouts of ″Gorby 3/8 Gorby 3/8″ mixed with jeers from protesters.
Crowds held signs reading ″We love Mikhail, Raisa,″ ″Mr. Gorbachev is a Cool Dude″ and ″Give Gorbachev the Nobel Peace Prize.″
After lunch at the governor’s mansion, Gorbachev waded into the throngs outside and walked more than a block. He talked for about two minutes with 11- year-old Brandon Peterson, but it was not immediately known what the two said.
Gorbachev got back into his car, but had the motorcade stop again. Security ropes were either down or nonexistent, and police used loudspeakers to tell the crowd to back off the street.
Gorbachev stuck his hand out his car window and waved at the throng outside the Capitol, but his face was only barely visible.
Many people ran the length of the Capitol lawn, leaping hedges and jumping curbs, hoping for a better look.
″I was a little disappointed because he is one of the most important people that ever lived,″ said Helene Turnbull of Minneapolis. ″But it was worth the wait seeing all the excitement.″
″It did go pretty fast,″ said Shelly Hanson, who, along with her husband, son, daughter and nephew, made a 2 1/2 -hour trip from Alexandria and then waited two hours for the motorcade to arrive.
″I think his actions proved he doesn’t care about real people, that he only wants to meet business people,″ said Vivita Rozenbergs, a Minneapolis resident of Baltic ancestry. ″His actions speak louder than his words.″