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Puerto Rico Protesters Halt Game

May 6, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Yankees-Orioles game was interrupted briefly Friday night when eight protesters angered by the arrest of protesters on Vieques Island near Puerto Rico ran onto the field at Yankee Stadium.

With one out in the top of the fifth inning, the protesters simultaneously jumped onto the field from behind home plate, down the left-field line and right-field lines and waved Puerto Rican flags.

Security guards ran out and tackled them and escorted them from the field.

One of the protesters ran to Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams _ a native of Puerto Rico _ and tried to hand him an unidentified object. Yankees left fielder Ricky Ledee and catcher Jorge Posada are also Puerto Rican.

Puerto Rican protesters had occupied the Navy’s 60-year-old Atlantic fleet training range in April 1999 after a civilian Navy guard was killed in an accidental bombing.

Opponents of the military presence on Vieques maintain that the military is responsible for environmental degradation, abnormally high rates of cancer and other illnesses among the island’s 9,300 civilians.

The Navy argues Vieques is vital to national security because it is the only place that air, land and sea forces can train simultaneously with live munitions before deploying abroad.

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