Livermore lab security arrests 40 in annual Good Friday anti-nuke protest

Photo by Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group

Photo by Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group

by Jeremy Thomas, Contra Costa Times

LIVERMORE — A group of 40 anti-nuclear activists, including a Dominican nun, were peacefully arrested at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory at the conclusion of an annual Good Friday protest organized by local interfaith groups.

An estimated 115 protesters gathered at Vasco and Patterson Pass roads for a worship service and speeches on nuclear weapons, proceeding to the lab’s west gate at 8:30 a.m., where those who chose to do so were arrested by lab security. Those arrested were cited for obstructing a public roadway and released.

“The arrests were routine and peaceful and were handled well by all law enforcement involved,” said Livermore lab spokesman Steve Wampler.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and Livermore Police Department assisted in the arrests. According to lab officials, the west gate was closed for two hours.

The annual Good Friday protest is organized by the Ecumenical Peace Institute of Berkeley and the Livermore Conversion Project in Oakland. It has been held for about the past 30 years.

“The message of today’s event is that we’ve got to stop devoting our valuable resources, our energy, our money, and our intelligence in the service of killing people, and turn it toward creating things that give life,” said Ecumenical Peace Institute program coordinator Carolyn Scarr, who was among those arrested.

At the gathering, keynote speaker Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, talked about the impacts of military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. Members of Livermore-based Tri-Valley Communities Against A Radioactive Environment (CAREs) also spoke, giving an update on the Department of Energy’s annual budget request for the lab.