Vandenberg Protest Planned

By Janene Scully
Santa Maria Times

16 May 2002


VANDENBERG AFB -- Armed Forces Day again will be marked with a protest at Vandenberg Air Force Base Saturday over opposition to several military programs.

The Vandenberg Action Coalition plans the 1 p.m. event at the Main Gate, at the corner of Highway 1 and California Boulevard.

Los Olivos resident Bud Boothe said the group will protest development of the ballistic missile defense and space-based weapons systems. "Vandenberg is really the center of the whole effort," said Boothe, adding he couldn't estimate how many people would attend.

Some activists plan to ride bicycles from San Luis Obispo to the base, leaving at 6 a.m. from the fire station at Broad and Santa Barbara streets in San Luis Obispo.

"If you love to ride the hills from San Luis Obispo to Vandenberg AFB, and feel that Arms Are For Hugging, and Not For Waging War, join us as we engage in this spirited bike ride to send out hugs to a world full of pain and war," the notice touts.

Some previous Vandenberg demonstrations have led to arrests for trespassing.

"As long as the protest remains peaceful, safe, and individuals stay in the designated areas," said base spokesman Capt. Tom Knowles, "we'll allow the protest to continue. If anyone violates any of these ground rules they'll be asked to leave the area or face prosecution in federal court."

Base officials said demonstrators can park at the Vandenberg Middle School parking lot.

A group of local residents who support the military reportedly plans to rally at the Main Gate at 10 a.m. Saturday. Multiple attempts to contact a representative for this group and confirm the event were not successful Wednesday.

* Staff writer Janene Scully can be reached at (805) 739-2214 or by e- mail at janscully@pulitzer.net.

(See also report of action)



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