NEW YORK, DEC. 9 -- About 350 AIDS and abortion-rights activists demonstrated across from St. Patrick's Cathedral today while a few sat quietly inside. It was a far cry from the pandemonium a year ago that resulted in 113 arrests.
On Dec. 10, 1989, about 4,500 protesters gathered to dispute the church's teachings, and 43 were arrested for chanting, lying down and chaining themselves to pews during the service.
This time, four people were arrested six blocks from the cathedral when the group sat briefly in the street on Fifth Avenue, blocking Christmas shopping traffic.
The Archdiocese of New York got a court order Friday to keep protesters from disrupting services.
About 25 members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT-UP, and Women's Health Action and Mobilization, known as WHAM!, walked out of the cathedral during Cardinal John J. O'Connor's homily, but services were not disrupted, said Sgt. Robert Ahearn.
William Dobbs, an ACT-UP lawyer, said the protest was organized to focus attention on church policies.
The protesters say O'Connor and the Roman Catholic Church are obstructing the dissemination of safe sex information and advocating "hatred and violence" against homosexuals and abortion-rights supporters.