Iran-Contra defendant Oliver L. North, heckled and picketed during a fund-raising speech, called 1988 a critical election year for "the fate of freedom," as a dozen demonstrators were arrested outside.

Supporters paid up to $500 for the banquet inside the Waukesha Exposition Center Wednesday night, while pro- and anti-North demonstrators gathered outside. In the auditorium, North's audience cheered security guards when two women were escorted to an exit after interrupting his speech."The Vietnam veterans are outside protesting," one of the women shouted.

"That little disruption was a remarkable testament to the Constitution of the United States," North said, contrasting American freedom of speech with censorship in the Soviet Union.