Four dozen nuclear disarmament activists arrested following die-in at Livermore Lab on anniversary of U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan

Photo by Leon Vo

from Marylia Kelley

The August 9 “March for Nuclear Abolition & Global Survival” to Livermore Lab was at once moving, solemn, joyous, powerful and timely – with the opportunity to address the U.S. atom bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the context of Trump’s threat to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea. One element of our August 9 program was the delivery to Livermore Lab of the “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” adopted July 7 at the United Nations by a vote of 122-1-1. Since the Lab director declined to accept it in person, the pages were strung across the West Gate, where peace advocates would soon risk arrest. There were about 250 people at the rally and 48 were peaceably arrested after a die-in in the road. 

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Protester arrested at Vandenberg Air Force Base during vigil marking Hiroshima & Nagasaki anniversary

Los Angeles Catholic Worker Photo

from the Los Angeles Catholic Worker 

On Saturday, August 5, the Los Angeles Catholic Worker joined the Guadalupe Catholic Worker and others in a prayerful witness at Vandenberg Air Force Base commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and calling for the elimination of ICBM missile testing, nuclear weapons, and U.S. imperial war-making.

Three Los Angeles Catholic Workers – Jeff Dietrich, Mike Wisniewski, and Karan Benton – were faced with arrest for “ban and bar” violations if they did not immediately leave the protest area. (They had each received ban and bar letters after previous arrests at the base.)  Jeff and Mike chose to leave rather than face arrest, while Karan refused to leave.  She was immediately arrested, cited for trespass and later released facing a future court date and certain jail time. 

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Jerry Zawada, Presente!

Jerry Zawada on March 6, 2016 at Pacific Life Community gathering, Photo by Felice Cohen-Joppa

There will be a peace vigil to honor the life of Fr. Jerry Zawada on Monday, November 13 at 8 a.m. at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona, followed by a celebration of his life (details will be updated on the Future Actions page here).

Fr. Jerry Zawada OFM – nuclear resister, peace and justice activist, Franciscan friar – died on the morning of July 25 at the age of 80. Jerry served his early years as a Franciscan priest in the Philippines, and later worked with the homeless, war refugees and survivors of torture in Chicago, Milwaukee, Mexico, Las Vegas, Tucson and elsewhere. Jerry was imprisoned for two years in the late 1980s for repeated trespass at nuclear missile silos in the midwest; served three six-month prison sentences (2001, 2003, 2005) for trespass at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning Georgia, and two months in prison in 2007 after crossing the line to protest torture training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.  A few years ago, his advocacy for and celebration of mass with women priests earned a disciplinary letter from the Vatican.

He never stopped standing up and speaking out for a peaceful, just and nuclear-free world, even when in recent years he slowed down physically and wasn’t quite sure how fast his legs would carry him.  His life will remain an example and inspiration to so many – those who knew and loved him, and those he never had an opportunity to meet.

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Activists cut fences, occupy nuclear weapons bunker in protest of U.S. nukes in Germany

Activists prepare to enter Büchel Air Base in Büchel, Germany to challenge U.S. nuclear weapons deployment. From left, Bonnie Urfer, Steve Baggarly, Susan Crane, John LaForge and Gerd Buentzly. (photo by Ralph Hutchison)

An international group of five peace activists got far inside the Büchel Air Base in Büchel, Germany, after nightfall on Monday, July 17, 2017, and for the first time in a 21-year-long series of protests against the deployment of U.S. B61 thermonuclear bombs there, climbed on top of one large bunker used for nuclear weapons. After cutting through two exterior fences and two more fences surrounding the large earth-covered bunkers, the five spent more than one hour unnoticed sitting on the bunker. No notice of the group was taken until after two of them climbed down to write “DISARM” on the bunker’s metal front door, setting off an alarm. Surrounded by vehicles and guards searching on foot with flashlights, the five eventually alerted guards to their presence by singing, causing the guards to look up. The internationals were eventually taken into custody more than two hours after entering the base.

U.S. citizens take action against U.S. nuclear bombs in Europe – remove U.S. flag; blockade main gate; meet with Base Commander

Photo by Bonnie Urfer

from Ralph Hutchison

A delegation of eleven U.S. citizens joined with activists from China, Russia, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, Belgium and Britain at a peace encampment at the German airbase in Büchel, Germany, where U.S. B61 bombs are deployed.

On Sunday, July 16, following the celebration of a Christian liturgy, Dutch and U.S. citizens removed the fence blocking the main entrance to the airbase and proceeded on site, the Dutch delegation carrying bread for a “Bread Not Bombs” action and the U.S. delegation carrying the text of the Nuclear Ban Treaty passed on July 7 at the United Nations in New York City.

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Six anti-war activists arrested on U.S. Capitol steps

Photo by Art Laffin

from the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

In Washington, D.C. on July 12 – the 200th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s birth – six anti-war activists with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) and several supporters visited both the Senate and House Office Buildings.  They first went to Room 317 in the Russell Office Building to deliver a petition to Sen. Mitch McConnell (scroll down to read petition).  A staffer graciously accepted the petition, and indicated that it would be delivered to someone in the office who works on military spending.

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Four arrests during another Coulport nuke base blockade

Trident Ploughshares photo

from Trident Ploughshares

On the morning of July 13, for the second time in three days, Trident Ploughshares campaigners blocked roads into the nuclear warhead store at Coulport on Loch Long as part of a week of peaceful disruption of the UK Trident bases in Scotland.

A group of four protesters blocked the main route to the base by lying in the roadway joined to each other through “lock-on” tubes while a different group, in carnival costume, occupied an alternative access route. Access to the base via these roads was blocked for over two hours. The “lock-on” group was eventually removed by police and the four arrested on a charge of breach of the peace. Those arrested were Esa Noresvuo (26) and Kaj Raninen, both from Helsinki, Peter Anderson (60), from Wales, and Jamie Watson (35), from Glasgow.

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Activists arrested blockading Trident Nuclear Weapons Depot in Scotland

Trident Ploughshares photo

from Trident Ploughshares

[scroll down for update: Angie and Brian released from prison on July 26; trial on August 3]

Five people from the Trident Ploughshares international nuclear disarmament camp were arrested on the morning of July 11 after they blocked the road leading to the Coulport nuclear weapons depot starting at 7 a.m.

The group of campaigners included two Spaniards and three UK citizens. By 9:30 a.m., MOD police had cut the protesters out of the heavy concrete and metal tubes with which they had locked themselves together.

“The New Reality – We banned nuclear weapons”

Some of the many people who worked on adopting a treaty to ban nuclear weapons: Elayne Whyte Gomez of Costa Rica and Setsuko Thurlow, a Hibakusha who was 13 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Photo by Kathleen Sullivan.


The New Reality

by Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will

8 July 2017
Yesterday, we banned nuclear weapons.

It’s still hard to believe this is the case. It hasn’t fully sunk in yet, the enormity of what just happened. Even as survivors, activists, politicians, and diplomats celebrated in New York and around the world, many expressed amazement that we actually pulled it off.

It was a long campaign. Activism against nuclear weapons has been fierce and determined for over seventy years. But it wasn’t until recent years, when a few courageous diplomats in partnership with a group of civil society actors working as part of or in collaboration with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons decided to take a leap into the unknown, that we managed to finally develop international law condemning and prohibiting these last weapons of mass destruction.

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Fr. Carl Kabat, OMI arrested at KC nuclear weapons plant on July 4

from Chrissy Kirchhoefer

In keeping with the tradition of Interdependence Day, the recognition of our need for each other as well as the impact of our actions on others, 83-year-old Catholic priest Carl Kabat took action on July 4 at the Kansas City National Security Campus. Carl’s attempt to incarnate the destructiveness of nuclear weapons by symbolically pouring red paint on the National Nuclear Security Adminstration sign was thwarted by employees of Honeywell.

After five years of annual actions on Interdependence Day, Kabat witnessed security personnel at all of the entrances to the facility for the first time. Despite the heavy rainfall and security presence, Kabat opted for the bike path in his single-minded pursuit of nuclear disarmament. Further down the path, Fr. Kabat was met by additional security personnel who prevented him getting any closer to the facility that is responsible for the production of 85% of the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons. Carl was charged with trespassing and released. He was issued a court appearance for August 8.

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