Several hundred protesters were arrested Saturday in a second straight day of anti-abortion demonstrations outside abortion clinics.
Randall Terry, the head of Operation Rescue, was among those detained and loaded into two police buses outside a clinic in downtown Washington, witnesses said.Police had no immediate comment on the number taken into custody, but a local TV station, WRC, said about 300 were arrested.
On Friday 340 protesters were arrested as part of the two-day campaign staged by Operation Rescue, a national anti-abortion activist group.
"If we saved one baby today, we accomplished more than anything," said Tom Hall of Buffalo, N.Y., a protester who was arrested on Friday.
Operation Rescue members said about 1,000 people from across the country had come to Washington for the demonstrations. On Saturday they demonstrated at three places, including the downtown clinic and a Planned Parenthood office.
All the arrests apparently took place outside the clinic, where protesters sang hymns, waved banners and exchanged jeers with those opposed to their cause.
A group advocating abortion rights, the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force, said some 500 people participated in a counter-demonstration and joined efforts to ensure that women wanting to enter the clinic would not be impeded.
Karen Orlando, a member of the task force, said there was some pushing between the two groups but no real trouble. She said three abortion rights supporters were "mistakenly" arrested when they were caught in a crowd being moved by police into the buses.
She said the protesters were arrested for trying to block the clinic's entrance, but Operation Rescue members claimed one of their leaders, Pat Mahoney, was hauled off by police while he was on his knees praying on a sidewalk across the street.