Bangor 8/9/2010

Nuclear Resisters Symbolically Close Nuclear Sub Base on Nagasaki Anniversary

Nine nuclear resisters were arrested for blocking the entrance to the U.S. Navy’s West coast Trident nuclear submarine base.

The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, houses the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the U.S.

Members and supporters of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action (GZ) commemorated the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki symbolically closing Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor by blocking the New Main Gate entrance during the early morning rush hour on Monday, August 9, 2010.  As demonstrators lined the side of the roadway, many holding signs and banners, the nine resisters engaged in a nonviolent direct action in which they moved the barriers indicating the designated protest zone and entered the roadway in successive waves.  Participants in the action ranged in age from 21 to 88.

GZ Peacekeepers first entered the roadway to stop traffic after which the first group of three resisters entered the roadway holding a banner reading “We can live without Trident.”  Officers from the Washington State Patrol moved in and arrested Francis Elizabeth “Betsy” Lamb, 71, of Bend, OR, Shirley Morrison, 88, of Seattle, WA, and Dorley Rainey, 83, of Seattle, WA.

A few minutes later GZ Peacekeepers stopped traffic and the second group entered the roadway holdinga banner reading “Abolish Nuclear Weapons.”  Those arrested were Rev. Anne Hall, 65, of Seattle, WA, Macknight Johnson, 54, of Silverdale, WA, and Alice Zillah, 37, of Olympia, WA.

As Peacekeepers stopped traffic one last time the final group entered the roadway.  Joe Anderson, 21, of Spokane, WA, sat down in the roadway holding a rainbow peace flag and a sunflower, the symbol of nuclear abolition.  Dr. David Hall, 64, of Seattle, WA, also sat down in the roadway carrying a sign reading “Abolish Nuclear Weapons.”  Both cooperated with State Patrol officers and were arrested.  Brother Gilberto Perez, a Buddhist monk from Bainbridge Island, also walked onto the roadway and was arrested holding an “Abolish Nuclear Weapons” sign.

All the arrestees were transported by the Kitsap County Sherriff to the Kitsap County Jail where they were processed and then released later in the morning.  Others from GZ continued to peacefully vigil for a while longer before returning to GZ, which is situated about a half mile from the Main Gate on property adjoining the submarine base.  GZ members drove to the Kitsap County Jail to greet the arrestees on their release and transport them back to GZ.

The purpose of the vigil and nonviolent action, which was completed without incident, was to raise awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons and our continuing reliance on them (particularly the Trident nuclear weapons system), and the importance of working towards a nuclear weapons-free world.  GZ holds vigils and nonviolent direct actions every year on the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Monday‚s action was the culmination of events beginning with the Peace Fleet meeting the U.S. Navy in Seattle’s Elliott Bay on August 4th, and weekend events at Ground Zero Center, including a vigil at the Trident submarine base on August 6th, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, as well as performances by Mary Ohno and her Kabuki Academy, the Seattle Raging Grannies and the Seattle Peace Chorus.  Participants also participated in nonviolence training and heard from Glen Anderson of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Olympia Chapter, about converting from a wartime economy to a peacetime economy.

Participants in the Interfaith Peace Walk for a Nuclear Free Future and Respect for Mother Earth, led by monks from the Bainbridge Island Nipponzan Miyohoji Buddhist Temple, arrived at GZ during the weekend and participated in the weekend’s activities.

In 2006, the Natural Resources Defense Council declared that the 2,364 nuclear warheads at Bangor are approximately 24 percent of the entire U.S. arsenal.  The Bangor base houses more nuclear warheads than China, France, Israel, India, North Korea and Pakistan combined.  For thirty-three years Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action has engaged in education, training in nonviolence, community building, resistance against Trident and action toward a world without nuclear weapons.

Contact:  Leonard Eiger, 425-445-2190,
Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action
16159 Clear Creek Road NW Poulsbo, WA 98370,