Tear Gas Used to Disperse Ralliers
COSHOCTON, Ohio (AP) _ A Labor Day rally outside a strikebound factory ended in injuries and arrests after law officers used tear gas to disperse the crowd when it tried to enter the plant grounds.
Police were also called in to defuse a Labor Day confrontation between striking paperworkers and replacements in Jay, Maine.
The Coshocton rally attracted an estimated 400 people in support of striking workers at the Stone Container Corp. At about 8:35 p.m., the crowd moved to the factory gates and tried to enter, said Coshocton County Sheriff David Corbett.
When police ordered the people to move back, they began throwing rocks and officers responded with tear gas, Corbett said.
Corbett later declared an emergency curfew in effect until 8 a.m. today.
The injured were treated and released at Coshocton County Memorial Hospital, said emergency room supervisor Mary Alice Dawson. She did not know the nature of the injuries.
The sheriff’s department said 12 people were arrested, most on charges of disorderly conduct. Adrian Mathis of Fresno and Keith Bowman of Conesville were charged with rioting and resisting arrest.
The sheriff’s department said in a prepared statement that about 85 officers from the department, the city police force and surrounding counties were on hand for the rally.
More than 180 members of Local 544 of the International Union of Operating Engineers have been on strike against Stone since Aug. 17.
The company, which makes paper containers at the plant, recently had advertised for workers to replace strikers.
In Maine, about 20 state troopers and several Franklin County sheriff’s deputies arrested seven people on charges including disorderly conduct, blocking traffic or criminal mischief. All were free on bail today.
The confrontation developed after hundreds of members and supporters of the striking United Paperworkers International Union and International Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers’ locals who had attended a Labor day rally in Waterville returned to Jay, where a strike against International Paper Co. is in its 12th week.
Jay police Chief Erland Farrington said strikers surrounded the car of one worker attempting to enter the mill. The car moved ahead and struck the blind wife of a striker. She was treated and released from a local hospital.
Farrington said up to 500 people gathered at the intersection after the woman was hit, and they were dispersed by police.