37 arrested at Livermore Lab Good Friday protest

photo by Anda Chu/staff, Contra Costa Times

from the Contra Costa Times

by Jeremy Thomas

LIVERMORE — Thirty-seven people were arrested outside Lawrence Livermore Laboratory during an annual Good Friday morning protest by anti-nuclear and interfaith groups, a lab spokesman said.

Alameda County sheriff’s deputies arrested the protesters for blocking a lab gate. As in previous years, protesters sat down across the lab’s west gate, after a procession estimated around 100 people. Deputies ordered the crowd to disperse before the arrests were made with the assistance of lab security. Livermore police provided traffic control.

“It was very orderly and peaceful,” said lab spokesman Don Johnston. “From every perspective, it went well.”

Those arrested were cited for obstructing a public roadway and released, Johnston said. The annual Good Friday service and protest against the lab’s involvement in developing nuclear weapons has been held for the past 30 years, and is co-sponsored by the Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC and the Livermore Conversion Project.

Members of the Peace Advocacy Committee of the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice CenterĀ  joined Friday’s protest after a three-day Peace Walk from Walnut Creek to Livermore. They joined the other protesters at Vasco and Patterson Pass roads for a sunrise worship service by the Rev. Phil Lawson, pastor emeritus of Easter Hill United Methodist Church in Richmond. The group proceeded to the lab’s west gate, stopping at several points to hear short talks on social issues and calls to convert the lab to peaceful civilian science.

Among those arrested and cited was Carolyn Scarr, 69, program coordinator for the Ecumenical Peace Institute. She said she has been arrested at the lab about a dozen times in prior Good Friday protests and hopes the demonstrations will have an impact on national nuclear policy in the long run.
“We still want (the lab) to know that we’re watching, and we want an end to nuclear weapons,” Scarr said.

According to the institute, an average of 30 to 50 people are arrested each year for blocking the gate on Good Friday.