About 250 anti-abortion protesters defied a federal court order and were arrested for blocking a clinic as a campaign of Holy Week civil disobedience got under way.

About 500 protesters sang hymns and prayed as they staged their demonstration Thursday at the Family Planning Associates Medical Clinic in suburban Cypress, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles.Despite the blockade, about 25 patients and clinic employees were escorted by helmeted police officers and pro-choice advocates into the building, past shouts of condemnation and offered prayers.

"Don't kill your baby!" the demonstrators shouted.

Today, more than 200 anti-abortion protesters in Albany, N.Y., staged a Good Friday demonstration at a Planned Parenthood clinic, with police reporting 80 to 100 arrests by midmorning. In Cincinnati, 30 to 35 demonstrators in front of two women's clinics were orderly and there were no arrests.