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Police arrest nine in protest march

By Craig Jungwirth

Student groups from Boston area colleges staged a protest march Wednesday that crossed the Harvard Bridge to MIT and resulted in nine arrests.

Approximately 50 demonstrators protested the United States' involvement in Central America, apartheid in South Africa and the Reagan administration's proposed budget cuts, said Vladimir Esealante, a Harvard graduate student and a participant in the demonstration.

The protesters met at Boston University and continued to the steps of the Julius A. Stratton '23 Student Center. The march ended on the Cambridge Common.

The University Campaign for Peace in Central America organized the groups, said Lydia Lowe, an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts at Boston (UMass) and a member of Students Organized Against Reagan.

Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) police officers arrested the nine protesters for disorderly conduct and disobeying police orders after crossing a police line.

An MIT senior, who participated in the rally but refused to identify himself, speculated that those students arrested were not affiliated with MIT.

"After the arrests started, the [protesters] raised a slogan: `Police can't stop the anti-apartheid movement,' " he said.

"The only thing I can figure out is they were blocking traffic or something," he continued.

When a UMass student approached the police asking them to release the first person arrested, she too was arrested, Lowe said. One protester who was chanting, "Stop police brutality" was also arrested, Lowe said.

The arrested students were taken to the MDC's Lower Basin Precinct. Protesters at the Student Center steps collected approximately $260 to post bail for those arrested.

"Progressive groups" consisting of "a broad coalition ... built around progressive ideas" participated in the protest, Esealante said.

The demonstrators burned a South African flag on the Student Center steps while chanting, "MIT students say death to apartheid," and "BU, Harvard, MIT -- out of South Africa!"

The group then continued their march to Cambridge Common, leaving the remnants of the burning flag on the steps.