Anti-abortion demonstrations at three clinics landed 69 more activists behind bars Saturday, joining more than 120 others already in jail from previous demonstrations who have refused to identify themselves to police.
Fifty-three members of "Operation Rescue" were arrested at Midtown Hospital, 12 at the Atlanta Women's Medical Center on the north side and four at the Atlanta SurgiCenter in midtown, said Tom Pocock, deputy director of the Atlanta Bureau of Corrections.The clinics are three of seven in the area licensed to perform abortions.
In Florida, 111 anti-abortion demonstrators were arrested Saturday at Tallahassee.
The demonstrators arrested in Atlanta were charged with criminal trespass and giving a false name to police, bringing to 276 the number who have gone to jail since the current series of protests began on July 19, during the Democratic National Convention. Twenty-eight were charged with obstructing a sidewalk or highway, Pocock said.
Many refuse to give their names.
Operation Rescue leader Randall Terry also was arrested and charged with being a party to a crime, Pocock said. Initial hearings for the protesters arrested Saturday were scheduled for Monday but may be changed to accommodate the arresting officers' schedules, Pocock said.
Demonstrators are being held separately from the general inmate population at various jails.
As of Friday, 82 arrested protesters had been released by disclosing their names and either posting $500 bond or being released on their own recognizance.
The activists have said they are willing to plead guilty to criminal trespass charges under aliases.