Two dozen Saco police, bolstered by 20 state troopers arrested the anti-war activists.

SACO (AP) – Police arrested 15 anti-war activists who bound themselves together and attempted to block the entrance to General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products Co. on Tuesday.

An additional 20 to 30 demonstrators held signs, chanted, sang and sold baked goods outside the plant, which manufactures some of the deadliest machine guns in the U.S. military’s arsenal.

Two dozen Saco police, bolstered by 20 state troopers, began making arrests late in the morning after the group refused to leave.

“We separated them carefully. It took a while,” Saco Police Chief Bradley Paul said. The fire department and public works departments brought tools used to separate the demonstrators.

The activists, who arrived in Saco from locations across the state, said the demonstration was designed to underscore the disparity between military and educational spending in the United States.

The plant is located near a school, and one of the signs carried by demonstrators said, “Schools not grenade launchers.”

“It offers a great metaphor, I think – a military facility across from an elementary school,” said Alec Aman, 21, a civil and environmental engineering student at the University of Maine.

The plant makes grenade launchers and M-2 machine guns, as well as Gatling guns used in fighter jets and attack helicopters.

Demonstrators did not succeed in shutting down the plant because workers were able to drive around them.

The 15 who chained themselves together were charged with criminal trespass and released on personal recognizance. They were ordered to appear in Biddeford District Court on May 22.


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