President Reagan whirled into the capital of the Confederacy...

RICHMOND, Va. -- President Reagan whirled into the capital of the Confederacy Wednesday for a campaign appearance that featured an outspoken protester, brass bands, baton twirlers, confetti and balloons.

A crowd of several thousand met Reagan when his Marine helicopter landed near the City Arena to kick off three hours of activities to boost GOP candidates in November's elections.


Demonstrators gathered outside the hall were blocked from the president's view by lines of uniformed high school band members. One protester was arrested.

Inside the spacious, ancient auditorium some 4,000 Virginians cheered and clapped a long line of Republican speakers before Reagan spoke, and at times the event sounded more like a battle of the bands as six high school brass bands and a college pep band thundered patriotic tunes.

Majorettes twirled batons in the aisles and military school cadets held aloft American flags. Hundreds of multi-colored balloons and a profusion of confetti were suspended over the hall in plastic sheets.

A standing ovation and chants of 'Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!' greeted the president when he walked to the bunting-draped platform with Rep. Paul Trible, Republican candidate for the Senate.

The crowd assembled by the GOP exhibited an exuberance that occasionally bordered on unruliness -- Secret Service agents had to hold back eager cheerleaders -- but the partisans came to Reagan's aid when a lone man interrupted his remarks.


The man, a representative of the Richmond Peace Vigil, began reading a letter aloud that called for the dismantling of 'all existing nuclear weapons.'

He was immediately taken outside by guards as crowd booed him and some of the band members loudly chanted, 'U-S-A, U-S-A.'

Reagan, unruffled, said that while he could not hear what the young man was saying, 'Aren't we happy that we can live in a country where somebody like himself can dissent.'

Police said the man, who was not identified, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

Two miles away at a motel where Reagan attended a closed $500-per-person fund-raiser, about 50 Richmond-area Palestinians and supporters of the Palestine Liberation Organization showed their support for the PLO.

'God bless the PLO' and 'Reagan, Reagan, you should know; we support the PLO,' chanted the protestors.

After the president departed for Washington by helicopter from a baseball park, his limousine got stuck in the field. A half-dozen men failed to push the car free and finally a wrecker was brought in to do the job.

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