Monday, October 2, 2006

Protestor arrested at weapons symposium

Media Credit: Photo by Luis Martin
Robert Anderson, a Central New Mexico Community College professor and local antiwar activist, is arrested by UNM Police officers in the Santa Ana room in the SUB on Friday.

by Maggie Ybarra, Daily Lobo

A protestor was arrested on charges of battery on a police officer at a symposium about nuclear warheads in the SUB on Friday.

Robert Anderson, 62, who is a Central New Mexico Community College professor, former UNM professor and local antiwar activist, pleaded not guilty on Sunday to the charge.

The symposium was held to discuss the future of the U.S. nuclear weapons program and the development of new warheads.

The event was sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories, UNM and Women in International Security.

Anderson told the audience he was protesting the event because it encouraged the creation of nuclear weapons, and the panel members did not represent diverse opinions.

The panel included at least three members of Sandia National Laboratories and a member of the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Members of Stop the War Machine, including Anderson, set up a table with posters and bumper stickers outside the Santa Ana room where the symposium was held.

The group is dedicated to educating the public about the military-industrial complex, according to the group's Web site.

Vera Norwood, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said in an interview Sunday that she told the protestors they were allowed to have the table and participate in the symposium. However, they were not allowed to bring signs into the room, she said.

"I told him (Anderson) they were welcome to do whatever they wanted outside the room," she said. "But inside the room, there would be a series of presentations, which a lot of people had come to hear."

About 80 people attended the event.

When the presentation was about to start, Anderson and student Andrew Marcum began shouting questions to the speaker, Norwood said.

The student was holding a sign that read "Educate for peace,

not war."

Norwood told Anderson several times to stop interrupting the presentation, or he would have

to leave.

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