Most of the 70 protesters arrested in a violent demonstration near the White House Monday night were released yesterday, but a D.C. Superior Court judge refused to reduce the $10,000 bond on the man described in court as the protests's "ringleader."
Two Superior Court judges yesterday released about 50 of the protesters on their promise to return to court for trial. But Judge Tim Murphy refused to release Robert Avakian, who was the only protester singled out in a description of charges presented in court yesterday by U.S. prosecutors.
About 20 of the protesters remained in jail last night on reduced bonds.
About 90 police officers and protesters were injured and 70 demonstrators were arrested during the incident, which occurred during a night of mostly peaceful demonstrations against the visit here of Chinese Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping.
An affidavit outlining the charges against each of the protesters describes in general terms the events leading up to the confrontation between police and protesters Monday night.
When the protesters were arraigned in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Earl Silbert told Judge Joseph Michael Hannon that details of charges against each protester would be presented in a special hearing held yesterday.
Defense attorneys for the protesters argued before Judges Hannon and Murphy yesterday that the government's charges were too vague to substantiate the felony charge of assault on a police officer for which each person was accused in the arraignment.
When hearings opened yesterday. Judge Hannon, who had been asked by Silbert on Tuesday to impose the $10,000 surety bond, said that he had agreed to the stiff bond based on the government's promise that detailed charges would be presented yesterday in the court. In view of the general charges, Hannon said he was willing to release persons who could show they were employed and had the ability to return to Washington for their trials.
Judge Murphy said he would not reduce the $10,000 bond placed on Avakian because he had no guarantees that Avakian would return for trial.
"Ringleaders have a great propensity not to return to court for trial," Murphy said. "It seems that the followers return to trial but the alleged ringleaders tend to show up in places like Algeria."
Carl Dix, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Communist Party, said in a statement after yesterday's hearing, "This was a very serious political at tack intended to hamper the development of the Communist Party in this country. But it's not enough to stop us."