The Guardian
April 23, 1986

ANTI--APARTHEID
AIRPORT ACTION DISRUPTS SOUTH
AFRICAN FLIGHT


By Paul DeRienzo


Sonic 30 protesters blockaded the British Airways terminal at New City's John F. Kennedy airport April 12, and erected a wood and cardboard shantytown to protest the repression of blacks by South Africa's while minority. The shanties, papered with statistics about forced relocation to "homelands," temporarily prevented passengers from boarding a South African Airways flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.
The action was organized by Brooklynites Against Apartheid. A leaflet distributed at the terminal said the protest was intended to he as disruptive as possible of South African Airways.


Port Authority police responded to the blockade with about 30 officers in riot gear who lined up in ranks to keep the gate and allow passengers to board the flight. Then another group of protesters poured motor oil on weigh scales at the check-in counters to Prevent baggage from being loaded.


At the main gate two demonstrators stayed by a shanty, blocking access to the South African Airways flight. They were charged with disorderly after spending the night in jail.
Shortly afterwards a scuffle erupted as police attempted to clear a path through protesters Two women demonstrators were roughed up and thrown against a wall by about 10 cops and arrested. Throughout the incident plainclothes Police circulated in the crowd that had gathered and pointed out demonstrators to uniformed cops.


The two women were later released along with two other protesters who had been arrested as they held a banner condemning South Africa.


After the action, protesters moved to the airport police station. were they were denied entrance. One cop offered his badge number and said, "Yeah, tell’em I violated your rights."

 

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