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Anti-war Demonstrations: The Gulf War


Marshals Service personnel provided security at federal buildings throughout the country during 80 anti-war demonstrations in the first three weeks of the Gulf War. One of the largest week-day demonstrations occurred in San Francisco shortly as the war began: An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 persons at the downtown federal building.

Gulf War Demonstrators outside federal courthouse

Marshal Reginald Boyd said 431 protesters were arrested for illegal actions during a single day by Federal Protective Service personnel and Deputy Marshals. At one point, demonstrators set bonfires on the steps of the federal building, pelted the structure with rocks, burned the American flag, and ran a red flag up the flag pole. Most of the operations at the federal building were shut down for three days during the largest and most violent portion of the demonstrations.

Richard S. Bippus, the Chief Deputy marshal in the District, suffered a broken ankle while he and other Marshals Service personnel were arresting demonstrators, Boyd said. The Marshals Service assembled 60 members of its Special Operations Group from Districts around the nation and sent the team to San Francisco to help protect the federal courts.

Los Angeles was also the site of large demonstrations. Marshal Craig L. Meacham (CICA) said Deputy Marshals helped provide security at the downtown federal building there and took part in the arrest of 158 persons in one day.

Gulf War demonstrators arrested at Federal courthouse