Three men arrested during march to Y-12 nuclear weapons plant

photo by Ralph Hutchison, OREPA

by Ralph Hutchison, OREPA

The Oak Ridge, Tennessee city police joined forces with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in an effort to stifle any public voice in opposition to the proposed $6.5 billion Uranium Processing Facility (bomb plant) at Y-12 in Oak Ridge.  One tactic was to erect a fence around Department of Energy (DOE) property to wall off the space used by protesters for more than 700 gatherings over the last 25 years; a second was to harass and intimidate marchers as they walked from the public park to the bomb plant.

The Rev. Gyoshu Utsumi, Buddhist monk of the Nipponzan Myohoji order and co-founder of the Great Smoky Mountains Dojo, was arrested for “impending the flow of traffic” by Oak Ridge city police officers during the April 6, 2013 march to the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant.

Also arrested along with Utsumi-shonin was Larry Coleman, who carried the long purple gandyke banner at the head of the march. In a separate incident, police also snatched legal observer Bill Ramsey, from Asheville, NC, when he accidentally stepped into the street to facilitate an orderly crossing in the crosswalk. Ramsey was also charged with “impending the flow of traffic.” A correct spelling of the charge would seem to be “impeding the flow of traffic,” although that is actually a law that applies to moving vehicle violations when one drives too slowly.

Ramsey and Coleman are scheduled to appear in General Sessions court in Oak Ridge, TN on Monday, April 15 and Utsumi-shonin is to appear on April 22. Coleman is attempting to have his hearing re-scheduled to the 22nd.

All three were released Saturday evening after being held for more than five hours. Ramsey and Utsumi-shonin were required to post $200 cash bond; Coleman’s bond was less because he is a Knoxville resident.

You can read another account here.